‘It’s just super exciting’: Matas Martin scores 33 as QU women reach double digits in victories for first time in seven seasons
QUINCY — Sarah Nelson remembers the bad times, which makes it so much easier to enjoy the good times.
In Nelson’s first three seasons, the Quincy University women’s basketball team had an 18-59 record and a 10-50 record in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
The Hawks now have won three of their last four GLVC games, including an 84-78 decision over Maryville on Saturday in Pepsi Arena. They have a 10-11 record overall, reaching double digits in victories for the first time since the 2015-16 season. They also have a 6-7 conference record, good enough for a three-way tie for seventh place in the 13-team GLVC.
QU has finished last in its division or in the league for six consecutive seasons, posting a 19-95 league record. With seven games remaining, it now is in a position to qualify for the GLVC postseason tournament for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
“We’re actually like having fun on the court,” Nelson said. “I feel like in the past, it was kind of just like, we’re just here to do our job. Now we’re doing our job, but we’re having fun. We’re smiling on the court or getting super excited on the bench. The locker room has never been this hyped. It’s just super exciting.”
Quincy trailed Maryville 57-51 after two free throws by the Saints’ Carsyn Fearday with 1:57 remaining in the third quarter. The Hawks closed the quarter with 10 consecutive points, with a 3-pointer from Beth Matas Martin giving them the lead.
Quincy then opened the fourth quarter on an 8-2 run, with Emma Knipe’s 3-pointer making the score 69-59 with 8:27 remaining in the game.
Maryville got within three points twice in the final four minutes, but the Hawks answered with a basket each time.
Quincy scored six baskets during that 18-2 run in the third and fourth quarters. Four of them came on assists.
“I say it all the time. When we move and we share the ball, we’re really good,” QU coach Kaci Bailey said. “We had 16 assists again tonight, and any time we get more than 15 assists, we’re pretty solid. I thought we just had some big momentum plays, some big energy. Everybody was in tune and engaged.”
Martin, a senior from Girona, Spain, scored a career-high 33 points. Knipe, a senior from Nauvoo, added 18 points and 13 rebounds. Nelson, a senior from Quincy High School, chipped in with 10 points.
“Matas Martin was in the zone,” Bailey said. “We kept the ball in her hands a lot. When she gets that look in her eyes, you’ve just got to let her go. She made some big shots, and that just fueled everybody else.”
Quincy held Maryville to 38.2 percent shooting from the field. The Saints’ Antoinette Mussorici entered the game averaging 15.8 points per game, but she missed 10 out of 11 shots and scored just six points.
Quincy’s next two games are on the road against Lewis and Indianapolis, two of the GLVC’s top four teams. However, Quincy closes with four of its last five games against the GLVC’s bottom four teams.
Asked if she expected her team to contend for the postseason tournament this season, Bailey said, “Expect? No, I don’t expect anything. It’s something that I want for this group, especially Sarah and Emma. Sarah’s been here four years, and Emma’s been here three. It’s just so good to see them get to experience this and truly be a part of a big reason why we’re turning this around.”
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