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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Conti leading Quinnipiac down the stretch in tight NEC race

HAMDEN -- Quinnipiac sophomore Evan Conti keeps proving everyone wrong, everyone except his coach Tom Moore.
Moore went out on the limb to recruit the 6-3 guard, and the Bobcats are already reaping the benefits in his second season.
Quinnipiac visits Sacred Heart tonight at 7 in a crucial Northeast Conference men’s basketball game. The Bobcats have won four straight and six of their last seven games to move into fifth place in the NEC standings. Sacred Heart sits in sixth place with only the top eight teams qualifying for the postseason tournament.
Evan Conti

Conti has been on a roll as of late. A week ago he poured in a team-high 18 points in a dramatic win over Robert Morris. On Saturday he nearly notched a triple double in a blowout of St. Francis (Pa.).
Not bad for a player from Bayside, N.Y., who no one really wanted.
“He’s a kid coming out of the New York City Catholic League and he’s got no Division I scholarships in March,” Moore said. “He’s got the Division II schools killing for him but I love when we started recruiting him that he really wanted that challenge to play Division I.
“No one in New York City would believe that by the end of his sophomore season that he would have the terrific season that he’s had. He’s made big plays to help us win games.”
Conti carries an 8.3 scoring average with a team-high 27 3-pointers into tonight’s game. He’s hit long-range jumpers and made powerful drives to the basket carrying a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
"He thinks he’s a lot better than he is and that’s awesome,” Moore said. “I’ll say that to our team in our scouting reports about kids from other teams that the reason this kid is good is because he thinks he is.
“Evan got his body college ready. He’s never going to be the most athletic kid out there but he improved his body. Then it was a matter of him getting some opportunities. He forced them by how well he plays in practice. I know there are people who believe that I must be nervous when he’s out there but Evan just figures things out.”
And even after he blew a game against St. Francis (N.Y.) with an errant pass that led to the game-winning basket, he thanked Moore for just giving him a chance.
“For a long time in high school I was trying to figure myself out, figure where I was going,” Conti said. “Quinnipiac has always been so great to me. On my visit Coach Moore decided to offer me, he told me things that I could come here and do; things that most other people said I couldn’t do. From him telling me that on my visit, I just keep replaying that in my mind. He gave me this opportunity and I’ve worked for that my whole life.
“I just want to pay him back by playing as hard as I can and take every opportunity like it’s the last. It means so much for me to be out here doing what I’m doing and it feels good to be able to help my team.”
Yale menThe Bulldogs seem to be at least a year away from threatening for a league title and earning an NCAA Tournament berth. At 4-4 Yale needs to run the table to have any shot of getting back into the race.
The schedule, however, is favorable. Yale has four of its next six games at home including matchups with Harvard (Saturday, 8 p.m.) and Princeton. Even if they sweep someone they’ll need help.
But just one look at the talent on this team and it is hard to believe that Yale won’t contend for the title within the next two years. The Bulldogs are loaded with freshmen and sophomores already making an impact.
Yale womenThe Lady Bulldogs are looking to finish above .500 in the Ivy League. They enter this weekend 9-13 overall and 4-4 in Ancient Eight play.
Senior guard Megan Vasquez recently became the eighth player in the history of the program to record 1,300 career points and last weekend Yale logged its first weekend road sweep of Cornell and Columbia since the 1997-98.
Princeton, however, appears to be undeniable with a 7-0 league mark.
Albertus MagnusLed by Darius Watson the Falcons were the heavy favorites to repeat their Great Northeast Athletic Conference title. But Albertus Magnus (22-4) may have to do the heavy work on the road. After dropping a late regular-season game to tonight’s opponent Johnson & Wales, the Falcons earned the second seed in the GNAC tourney.
AMC opened GNAC play Tuesday with a win over Rivier setting up tonight’s monster rematch. If they win, the title game is Saturday at top-seeded Anna Maria College or back in the Falcons’ nest against St. Joseph’s (Maine).
The women’s team (20-6) went on the road to beat Rivier on Tuesday and continue their revival season with a semifinal game at Emmanuel in Boston, Mass., tonight. New Haven’s Kendrea Walker and Hamden’s Lianne Carrero have been immense all season.
SCSU-New HavenThe two rivals square off for a men’s and women’s doubleheader on Saturday at Southern. The men’s teams headed into Wednesday night’s games with identical marks and tied for fourth in the Northeast-10 Conference. They could meet again in the NE-10 tournament and Saturday’s huge game could determine which team will host the contest.
The UNH women’s team is currently sitting in seventh in the NE-10 standings eyeing a postseason berth. Southern, which reached the NCAA Division II regional final last season, is relegated to the role of spoiler.
Quinnipiac womenIf the Bobcats run the table the biggest question is where they’ll be seeded in the NCAA tournament. Quinnipiac has won 14 straight games and is 22-2 overall. They’ve beaten St. John’s and they are currently ranked 55th in the nation in the RPI.
But they’re strength of schedule is 255th and still sinking. Look for the Bobcats to get a No. 14 seed if they run the table and despite their incredible season they most likely still need to win NEC tournament to get an NCAA berth.

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