STORRS — Standing on the court inside the home of the best women’s basketball program in history, Tricia Fabbri pointed to the stands and raised her fist.

The lingering fans, clad in Quinnipiac apparel, cheered. For a program that’s emerged as a perennial winner, this was a moment to celebrate.

Gampel Pavilion, under all those championship banners and all of that history. The Quinnipiac Bobcats stood on the big stage and battled their way to a victory in the NCAA Tournament.

The 86-72 win over Miami Saturday afternoon was just another chapter in the rise of Fabbri’s program. Seven consecutive seasons with 20 or more victories, four NCAA Tournament berths, a trip to the Sweet 16 last year …

And now a win at Gampel, securing a matchup with UConn Monday night. The all-Connecticut meeting will pit the mid-major power from Hamden against the the national dynasty at the state university.

“It’ll be fun,” Fabbri said.

Quinnipiac (28-5) advanced with a win over a program it defeated in the second round last year. Miami (21-11) was bounced from the 2017 tournament on its home court, as the 12th-seed Bobcats emerged from South Florida with wins over No. 5 Marquette and No. 4 Miami.

The run ended with a Sweet 16 loss to eventual national champion South Carolina, but the march in March shined a light on Fabbri’s team. The takeaway from last season? Quinnipiac is well-coached, talented and — most of all — tough.

This year?

“We’re another added layer of toughness,” Fabbri said. “These young ladies love a big stage. They rise to these challenges. … They love this stage. They want to be in March, they want to be winning games in March. Their mindset, their mentality [is], actually, this is the time of year and they’re having the funnest, the most fun time of the year, too.”

Playing about an hour from their campus, the Bobcats had significant fan support as they took the court Saturday afternoon. And the atmosphere seemed to play a role in the fourth quarter, when the Bobcats seized control of the game with a 15-1 run.

“That was awesome,” junior Jen Fay said of the atmosphere. “Even before the game, UConn fans came up to us and told us they were going to root for us in this game, so that was awesome. When we got it running in the fourth quarter, the place was electric. It was a lot of fun.”

Fay led the Bobcats with 19 points, topping a balanced offense that featured six players in double figures. Paula Strautmane had 15, Carly Fabbri and Edel Thornton 14 each, Aryn McClure 13 and Brittany Martin 11.

“Great balance … an incredible team effort in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter,” Tricia Fabbri said.

It was back-and-forth for three quarters, yet Miami managed to sustain for much of the game. But the tide shifted a few minutes into the final quarter and the spark was ignited by unbridled effort.

Quinnipiac took a 62-60 lead on Martin’s 3-pointer just over three minutes into the fourth. On a later possession, Quinnipiac missed two shots but managed to keep the ball — they grabbed rebounds and chased loose balls, setting up an eventual three-point play by Thornton.

Thornton, from Ireland, shined on St. Patrick’s Day. With her family from her home country on hand, she converted five consecutive points during a span that saw the Quinnipiac lead swell from two to seven points. And she was being guarded by Shaneese Bailey, one of the better defenders in the ACC.

“[Thornton] was very special,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “She’s not one of the four kids you talk about on the scouting report.”

Thornton, a junior guard, earned a spot in the starting lineup based on her recent play. She rewarded her coach with a breakout performance.

“I just wanted to win,” Thornton said. “I feel like the will to win helped me do it.”

Miami, Meier observed, had “foggy brains” in the fourth quarter. And indeed, the Hurricanes faded as Quinnipiac gained momentum in the final seven minutes.

Tricia Fabbri’s first words as settled behind the microphone for her postgame press conference: “Well, that was fun.”

The reward, of course, is a date with the No. 1 team in the country. Fabbri and her players were relishing the win Saturday, contemplating what’s ahead without turning their backs on what they achieved.

“I’ve been in this business long enough to know that when you get a win and it’s a good one, you better enjoy it,” Fabbri said, “So we’ll certainly go back to the hotel with our families and friends and some fans, and enjoy tonight and get ready for UConn tomorrow.”

QUINNIPIAC 86, MIAMI 72

FG

FT

Reb

QUINNIPIAC

Min

M-A

M-A

O-T

A

PF

PTS

Fay

35

6-15

4-6

4-6

2

4

19

Strautmane

35

6-11

2-3

2-6

2

4

15

Fabbri

36

4-6

2-2

0-2

2

3

14

McClure

36

3-9

7-8

3-9

9

3

13

Thornton

27

6-15

1-2

0-1

0

2

14

Ward

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Warfel

13

0-1

0-0

0-1

1

2

0

Martin

17

3-4

4-4

2-4

0

3

11

Totals

200

28-61

20-25

12-32

16

22

86

Percentages: FG .459, FT .800. 3-Point Goals: 10-31, .323 (Fabbri 4-6, Fay 3-11, Strautmane 1-3, Thornton 1-9, Martin 1-2). Blocked Shots: 4 (McClure 3, Strautmane 1). Turnovers: 14 (Fay 4, McClure 3, Strautmane 2, Fabbri 1, Martin 1). Steals: 8 (McClure 3, Fabbri 2, Fay 1, Strautmane 1, Martin 1); Technical Fouls: None.

FG

FT

Reb

MIAMI

Min

M-A

M-A

O-T

A

PF

PTS

Harris

36

3-8

2-6

3-8

6

5

8

Davenport

31

8-10

5-8

7-9

0

3

21

Hof

33

6-11

4-6

3-7

2

4

16

Banks

33

7-10

0-0

1-10

0

4

15

Gray

28

2-10

5-8

0-2

2

4

10

Bailey

12

1-5

0-0

0-0

1

3

2

Mortensen

0

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Geldof

0

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Marshall

13

0-3

0-0

1-1

0

0

0

Mason

14

0-3

0-0

1-2

0

2

0

Totals

200

27-60

16-28

17-40

11

25

72

Percentages: FG .450, FT .571. 3-Point Goals: 2-7, .286 (Banks 1-2, Gray 1-3, Marshall 0-2). Blocked Shots: 3 (Davenport 1, Hof 1, Banks 1); Turnovers: 17 (Hof 4, Gray 4, Marshall 3, Davenport 2, Banks 2, Bailey 1); Steals: 7 (Hof 3, Harris 2, Gray 1, Bailey 1); Technical Fouls: None.

Quinnipiac

14

18

21

33

86

Miami

17

18

19

18

72

A—6,154. Officials—Luis Gonzalez, Cathi Cornell, Nykesha Thompson.