ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) After coming so close to ending Marist's run last season in the championship game, Quinnipiac coach Tricia Fabbri and her team weren't going to let another chance slip away.
Jasmine Martin scored 18 points to help the Bobcats beat Marist 72-61 and win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament Monday, ending the Red Foxes' nine-year run as champions. Last year Quinnipiac lost the title game by four points.
''Losing to them last year really is a feeling I'll never forget,'' said Quinnipiac's Samantha Guastella. ''I've had nightmares since that game.''
Nikoline Ostergaard added 15 points for the Bobcats, who secured their second NCAA bid in three years. Quinnipiac won the NEC tournament in 2013 before joining the MAAC the next season.
''When you get a taste of the NCAA Tournament as we did two years ago and these young ladies were sophomores, it gave me another level of motivation to get back there and win a game in the NCAA Tournament,'' Fabbri said.
Quinnipiac (31-3) lost to Maryland in the NCAAs in its last appearance. This year the Bobcats became the first MAAC team to go 20-0 during conference play this season, stopping Marist's run as regular season champions.
Now the Bobcats have ended the Red Foxes' (21-11) NCAA streak.
''I think sometimes that's hard for our players to fathom,'' Marist coach Brian Giorgis said of his team's winning streak. ''We were trying to explain it to them. They feel like it's a birthright, what's supposed to happen. It's the second longest streak in the history of women's basketball outside of Old Dominion.''
The Bobcats led 43-41 early in the second half before holding Marist to one basket over the next 8 minutes. Brianah Ramos scored five straight points to help Quinnipiac extend its lead to 52-44 with 8:40 left.
Marist could get no closer than six the rest of the way.
As the final few seconds ran off the clock the Quinnipiac celebrated its victory jumping on each other at center court.
Martin earned tournament MVP honors.
Sydney Coffey scored 21 points to lead the Red Foxes and Tori Jarosz had 16 points and 17 rebounds.
Quinnipiac scored the first seven points before Marist got rolling. Led by Madeline Blais, the Red Foxes closed the gap quickly. With the Bobcats lead 20-19, Maria Napolitano scored the first six points during a 9-2 run by Quinnipiac that made it 29-21 with 4:46 left in the half.
Marist tied the game at 30 before a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left by Sarah Shewan gave Quinnipiac a 33-30 halftime lead. Natalie Gomez-Martinez's half-court shot came a split-second after the first half buzzer. The officials spent a few minutes reviewing that shot before ruling it no-good.
Marist: This was the first time in 35 games that Marist wasn't the better seeded team in a MAAC tournament game. ... The Red Foxes have won 28 straight games in the conference tournament. ... Marist was the active leader in consecutive conference tournament championships with nine.
Quinnipiac: The Bobcats have the second-highest winning percentage (.782) of New England Division I schools since 2011-12 trailing only UConn. They are 104-29. ... Coach Fabbri's daughter Carly is a freshman on the team.
Quinnipiac's depth has allowed Fabbri to implement an unusual strategy, subbing five players in and out of the game at a time every few minutes, much like a line on the school's nationally ranked hockey team.
''We got in early foul trouble so we couldn't do it as much as we normally do,'' Fabbri said.
NOT SO FREE THROWS
Marist came into the game eighth in the country in free throw shooting, making 77 percent from the line. The Red Foxes were just 12 for 22 on Monday. Quinnipiac was 19 for 24 from the free throw line.
''No idea why, we've been one of the best in the country,'' Giorgis said of the poor shooting. ''Sometimes you have some of those days. ... It happens. That it's in this game, I have no explanation for it. I don't think we choked at all. They were everywhere but in.''
Marist: Awaiting postseason tournament.
Quinnipiac: NCAA Tournament.