Jen Fay always has been interested in history.
The Lynbrook native and redshirt senior studied the subject at Quinnipiac, with a focus on the educational track, but she also has created a little history — on the basketball court.
Fay became the first Bobcats player to win four women's basketball conference championships after Quinnipiac defeated Marist, 81-51, in the MAAC final on March 11, leading her team to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season. Quinnipiac (26-6), the 11 seed, will take on No. 6 South Dakota State (26-6) in the first round of the Portland Regional on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome.
“I committed to Quinnipiac because of the tradition that was being built,” said Fay, who was named the MAAC Tournament MVP for the second straight season. “Every year I’ve been more of a direct contributor and this year I’ve worked on becoming a more vocal leader.”
Fay, who played a year of varsity basketball at Lynbrook High School before transferring to Nazareth Regional in Brooklyn, has seen her role with Quinnipiac grow each season. She scored two points in eight minutes against Oklahoma in her first NCAA Tournament and was sidelined with an ACL injury her sophomore year, but returned in 2016-17 to spark 12th-seded Quinnipiac to its first-ever Sweet 16.
It was a run Fay said she’s been trying to recreate ever since.
“That was easily,the greatest moment of being part of this team,” she said. “Knowing how that felt, we’ve always believed we’d be able to do that again. It would be unreal.”
Although Fay looks back on the 2016-17 season with pride, she added that she’s done her best to stay in the present and, this year, that meant expanding her game. She averaged 12.1 points and 6.7 rebounds, and while it wasn’t her most dominant season statistically, Fay said she believes she’s a more well-rounded player.
“I’m a little mix of everything,” she said. “I’ve always been an undersized post player, so I’m able to step out and shoot a midrange. I’ve worked on my three-point shooting to be more versatile. I’m not a primary point guard, but I can handle the ball.”
Fay’s willingness to do anything on the court has helped her settle into her role with Quinnipiac and, most importantly, helped the Bobcats win.
Quinnipiac comes into the NCAA Tournament riding a 21-game win streak and has racked up 52 straight victories against MAAC opponents. The Bobcats’ 30-point win in the MAAC championship was the largest margin of victory in league history. It’s a string of success that has drawn a spotlight, but according to Fay, one that helped prepare the Bobcats for the national stage.
“We’re always getting the best from everybody,” she said. “Those games are what prepare us for the NCAA Tournament and we know, if we play our game, we can compete with anyone.”
Fay isn’t sure what will happen after this season. She’s considering her options in school and the possibility of playing overseas, but said it’s most likely the end of her playing career. If it is, she said she doesn’t have any regrets, an experience that’s been as historic as she once hoped it could be.
“I’m grateful, that’s the best word to describe it,” Fay said. “Quinnipiac’s left such an impact on me and I can only hope I’ve left an impact on the program as well.”