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Quinnipiac women’s basketball team returns home after making their first ever Sweet Sixteen

HAMDEN -- Quinnipiac coach Tricia Fabbri and her daughter, Bobcats guard Carly Fabbri, are relishing their time together in the NCAA Tournament as the Quinnipiac women's basketball team returned home after making their first Sweet Sixteen.

The women's basketball team players returned home Tuesday morning after winning Monday night, making it into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time ever.

Morgan Manz scored 22 points and made six 3-pointers, Aryn McClure added 15 leading, and Sarah Shewan and Paula Strautmane each scored 11 for Quinnipiac (29-6). The 12th-seeded Quinnipiac will now head into the Sweet 16, thanks to the win that stunned fourth-seeded Miami 85-78 in the second-round NCAA Tournament.

Fabbri point to the team's grit and dedication as the key factors getting them this far. She also told FOX61, Captain Morgan Manz hunted for those 3-pointers, showing the tournament the kind of leader she really is.

"We’ve been building for the last 6 years and I’m just excited that this team gets the recognition it deserves, not only in the state of Connecticut, but really all across the nation. We’re really the talk of the town in the NCAA tournament, they deserve it," Fabbri said.

Manz, also took a moment to step off their homecoming bus and tell FOX61, she is still trying to process it all, but said there is still work to be done to get ready for their upcoming game against South Carolina.

“Honestly I’m still in a bit of shock, growing up you never think you’re going to make it to the sweet 16, but I couldn’t be more proud of this team and what we accomplished in Miami," Manz said.

"I was elated for them and their ability to go ahead and move on to the sweet 16. That was the ultimate goal we talked about, was winning 1, 2-plus games. And we've got two under our belt and ideally we can get a third," said Greg Amodio, QU Athletic Director. "Athletics is the front porch to the university in many ways, so this is a chance for us to continue to enhance our brand."

Students were excited.

"We're known for our hockey so it's kind of cool to start looking at the basketball aspect, especially women," said Freshman Katie Blackwood.

"Wherever you were last night, there was kind of the buzz.  I just stopped at Dunkin' real quick around 9 o'clock. You could tell there were fans in there. Everyone was wearing blue and gold," said Senior Tyler Brosious. "Everyone's got a little more pep in their step and it doesn't hurt on a kind of cold Tuesday."

Quinnipiac will head to Stockton, California and play top-seeded South Carolina on Saturday. The Bobcats of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference made 15 of 26 from 3-point range, and won their 12th straight game.

Jessica Thomas scored 25 points and Keyona Hayes added 21 for Miami (24-9), which was looking for its first trip to the round of 16 since 1992. The Hurricanes were outscored 45-15 from 3-point range. Every time Miami made a run, Quinnipiac would answer.

What was as much as a 13-point lead was cut to one late, before Martucci’s 3-pointer with 57.5 seconds left put Quinnipiac up 78-74. Manz knocked the ball away from Miami’s Jessica Thomas on a drive on the ensuing Hurricanes’ possession, and the Bobcats, probably best known in Division I as a hockey school, would soon be celebrating the biggest win in the history of their program.