FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The basketball god giveth, and the basketball gods taketh away. Nearly three weeks after the Stags stole a game at Monmouth with an exciting comeback in the closing seconds, the Hawks found magic of their own. Freshman Kayla Shaw tied the game with a 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds left in regulation and the Hawks’ defense limited the Stags to a 1-for-9 shooting percentage in the overtime period as the Stags dropped their second-straight game 60-53 to Monmouth.
After being outscored 17-13 in the first quarter, the Stags (9-11, 6-5 MAAC) clamped down on the defensive side by holding one of the conference’s most high scoring offense to just 17 percent shooting as the Hawks (10-9, 5-5 MAAC) connected on just two layups on their 12 attempts. That span included a six-minute scoring drought where the Stags were able to pull off an 8-0 run to take the lead into half. Sam Kramertied the contest at 19-19 with a layup and then pulled off a beautiful crossover that took down her defender and she was able to knock down the wide open three to give the Stags a 22-19 advantage.
The Stags were able to open up a 13 point lead, their largest of the night on a layup with Samantha Cooperwith five minutes left in the third quarter. The Hawks were a different team after that media timeout. Trailing 37-24, Monmouth went on a 14-0 run spanning into the fourth quarter as Fairfield allowed 18 consecutive rebounds to Monmouth with both streaks ending near the seven minute mark of the fourth quarter.
Cooper’s layup ended the scoring drought that lasted nearly eight minutes as her layup gave the Stags the lead again at 39-38. Casey Foleywould grab a defensive rebound 16 seconds later, which snapped a rebounding drought that also lasted eight minutes.
Despite all those struggles, the Stags still had a five-point lead at 49-44 with 33 seconds remaining after a Kelsey Careyjumper. However, the Stags fouled a 3-point attempt by Tyese Purvis, who went to the line and hit all three of her free throws (similar to Carey’s heroics at Monmouth on January 4).
Her three makes put the Stags up two with 17 seconds to go. The Hawks fouled with 16 seconds remaining, but the Stags split the ensuing two free throws, giving Monmouth a chance. The Hawks seized their opportunity as Shaw, the league leader in 3-pointers per game hit her only long range shot of the night, tying the game at 50-50 with 0.2 seconds left on the clock.
In the overtime period, the Hawks limited the Stags to just one field goal, a Macey Hollenshead3-pointer with 16 seconds left in the game. The Hawks needed just two layups as they hit six free throws down the stretch to ice the victory at 60-53.
Free throws were a problem for both sides. Monmouth missed nearly half of their 29 attempts going 15-for-29 at the line, with a 6-for-14 mark in overtime. A day after knocking down 92 percent of their free throws, the Stags went 8-for-15 from the charity stripe.
Casey Smithwas the Stags’ offensive leader with 20 points with eight of those coming in the fourth quarter. Smith also hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds to complete her third career double-double.
On the other side of the box score, Purvis racked up a game-high 22 points while Alexa Middleton set a career-high with a game-high 16 rebounds. The Hawks dominated the glass by out-rebounding the Stags 56-38. The 56 boards is the most the Stags have allowed in a game since March 21, 2010 when they surrendered 58 to Appalachian State in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
The Stags will try and get back on the winning track when they welcome Niagara to Alumni Hall on Sunday at 2pm.