UConn notes: Martucci makes a visit to Gampel to root for her Quinnipiac family

Former Quinnipiac and Waterford High School star Adily Martucci, center, watches her alma mater play UConn in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Monday at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Former Quinnipiac and Waterford High School star Adily Martucci, center, watches her alma mater play UConn in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Monday at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

Storrs — Adily Martucci was at Gampel Pavilion on Monday night cheering for Quinnipiac University against UConn.

"I will be rooting for my QU family," Martucci said with a laugh in advance of the NCAA tournament second-round matchup. "(Watching) 'The Godfather' taught me to 'never take sides against the family. Ever.'"

Martucci is a graduate of Waterford High School and a 2017 Quinnipiac grad, who captained the Bobcats last season on the first Sweet 16 run in program history. Martucci was named Most Valuable Player in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament last year and was a keystone as the Bobcats earned their first two NCAA tournament victories.

Martucci, a 5-foot-8 guard, played in 135 career games for Quinnipiac, more than any other player. She finished with 961 career points, including 122 3-pointers.

"For her to be the one in the clutch, for her to be the voice, for her to be the one we're leaning on, that's the greatest joy you see as a coach," Quinnipiac coach Tricia Fabbri said of Martucci last season in a story in The Day.

Martucci followed her career at Quinnipiac by playing professionally in Puerto Rico and Ireland. She returned from Ireland on Saturday.

"Without a doubt, I knew that our Bobcats would be great this season," Martucci said, asked if she thought when she left that Quinnipiac would continue its string of success. "We have a good culture set and always want to push to be better than last season.

"In order to do that, our Bobcats have to hold themselves and each other at a higher standard. Our team has no problem doing that every season. Ultimately, my teammates know they have a great purpose, one of which is to do everything for each other. When you have a strong purpose like that, there's not much that can get in the way of it."

Calm Kia

In a game which featured its share of excitement, especially with 8,957 fans in full voice — several loud ovations for each team — UConn senior guard Kia Nurse seemed to be the calmest one in UConn's 71-46 victory over Quinnipiac.

Well, it is sort of her job.

At one point, with UConn up 9-4, Nurse waited for a defender to go flying by her, then strode in a few steps from the perimeter and banked a shot off the glass. In the second quarter, her 3-pointer answered a 3 by Quinnipiac's Paula Strautmane which cut the Bobcats lead to 8.

Nurse finished with 13 points, including three 3s, and had three assists.

"It definitely was a grind today and they did a great job on a number of things against us, but I think for a team like us, we have to try to remain calm as much as possible throughout whatever the situation is.

"As an older person on the team and with a lot of experience, that's definitely one of the things I've worked on over my years ... WORKED ON. I wouldn't say it was always there."

Nurse and fellow senior Gabby Williams played their final game at Gampel Pavilion. Nurse, who played 34 minutes, was given the final sendoff of the night from the UConn portion of the crowd when she left for the final time with 2:27 to play.

The seniors finished their careers 79-0 in the state of Connecticut, 32-0 at Gampel Pavilion.

"Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center are two of the greatest places in the country to call home," Nurse said. "It's a matter of the fans and our fan base that come out each and every game with the same passion and the same energy ... but also just the feeling of being in a place that has so much history of so many great players who have come before.

"It's been an incredible four years here. The ovation was absolutely incredible."

v.fulkerson@theday.com

UConn's Kia Nurse ties up Quinnipiac's Aryn McClure in the second half of Monday's NCAA tournament game at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
UConn's Kia Nurse ties up Quinnipiac's Aryn McClure in the second half of Monday's NCAA tournament game at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

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