HAMDEN, Conn. – The four-game winning streak for the Fairfield University women’s basketball team is over, but they did not give it up without a fight. The Fairfield defense stymied the best offensive team in the conference, holding Quinnipiac to just three field goals in the first 15 minutes of action, but the Bobcats broke through in the fourth quarter by scoring 18 points and taking a 60-55 victory over the Stags. While the four-game winning streak for the Stags comes to an end, Quinnipiac extended their streak to 18-straight regular season victories against MAAC opponents.
The Stags (8-9, 5-3 MAAC) entered the fourth quarter tied at 42 with the Bobcats (15-3, 8-0 MAAC) before Quinnipiac out-scored the Stags 18-13 in the final 10 minutes. The Stags had one last push trailing by six with 33 seconds left. Casey Smithhit her fifth career 3-pointer but that’s where the magic ended for the Stags.
Despite the setback, the Stags had arguably their best defensive effort of the season holding the nation’s second ranked mid-major team to 11 points under their season average. Quinnipiac had entered the game with a league best 70.9 points per game before putting up 60 today.
The recent magic for the Stags poured itself out onto the defensive front. The Stags held the league’s best offensive team without a field goal for the first 9:50 of the game as the Bobcats misfired on their first 14 shots. Quinnipiac’s leading scorer Jen Fay put an end to that defensive stronghold as she connected on a corner 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining in the first quarter for Quinnipiac’s only made field goal through the first 10 minutes. The Stags were able to get their share of points during the period by shooting 55 percent from the field. Casey Foley’s 3-pointer gave the Stags their first double-digit lead of the day making the score 11-1.
Quinnipiac continued to struggle from the field in the second quarter and through 15 minutes had connected on just three of their 24 attempts (12.5 percent). However, all three of those shots were from behind the arc which allowed the home side to stay in the game. Foley would hit her second trey of the game opening up an eight point lead for the Stags midway through the period, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Adily Martucci quickly erased that deficit.
Fairfield saw two players reach milestones in the second quarter with Kelsey Careyand Casey Smithboth reaching the 900-point mark. Carey’s came on the free throw line while Smith’s hook shot gave the Stags a 25-21 lead. Macey Hollensheadadded to that advantage by swishing through a 3-pointer of her own and gave the Stags a 28-23 lead at the half.
The Stags were able to keep that halftime lead for nearly four minutes into the second half until Martucci finished off an 8-0 Quinnipiac run to give the Bobcats their first lead of the game at 31-30. Samantha Cooperquickly answered with a personal 4-0 spurt to give the Stags the lead again. Cooper finished a layup in the lane and hit her first long range shot in a 20 second span.
Fairfield led by as many as six points in the third quarter after a Kendra Landylayup, but Quinnipiac was able to tie the game twice in the final minute on a Fay 3-pointer and a free throw by Paula Strautmane.
Morgan Manz broke a tie to start the final period with a traditional 3-point play and after a Cooper layup, Fay connected on her third 3-pointer of the afternoon to extend a Bobcats lead they would not surrender.
Smith’s 3-pointer gave the Stags some hope trailing by three with 20 seconds left, but Carly Fabbri hit both of her free throws to ice the game.
Once again, all three Stags post players reached double figures with Smith tallying a game-high 15 points. Cooper netted 12 and also recorded her 14th career double-double with 11 rebounds. Carey also chipped in 11.
Quinnipiac made fewer field goals than the Stags (22-17) but made nine of their 30 attempts from behind the arc. Fay and Martucci both connected on three with Martucci finishing with a team-high 13 points.
The Stags will now make their annual trip to Western New York which begins with a contest against Niagara on Friday night at 7pm.