NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Iona’s Alexis Lewis and Karynda DuPree combined for 41 of Iona’s 65 points and the Fairfield University women’s basketball team could not overcome a late 7-0 run to end the third quarter as the squad dropped their final road game of the season 65-55 to Iona. With the result, the Stags and the Gaels are now tied for third in the MAAC standings with identical 11-7 records, but the Stags currently own the tiebreaker with Iona.
The Stags (14-12, 11-7 MAAC) initially reignited the success they had during their recent five-game winning streak by getting everyone involved early on. Five different players scored during the opening quarter with Kendra Landy, who was making her first career start leading the charge with four points in the first 10 minutes. Samantha Cooperbroke an 8-8 tie with her first 3-pointer of the game and gave the Stags a lead they kept throughout the first stanza. The big reason the Stags were to keep the advantage was their defense, which halted the Gaels (16-11, 11-7 MAAC) to a 15 percent (2-for-13) in the first quarter.
The negative aspect for the Stags was two post players picked up two fouls in the first stanza with Casey Smithand Kristine Millerboth whistled for two violations. Miller, however, was able to stay in the game and gave the Stags production by scoring three of the team’s first six points of the second quarter. The Stags kept the lead until the middle of the second quarter when Karynda DuPree finished a layup to give Iona a 20-19 advantage and then the Gaels regained the lead on Alexis Lewis’ third 3-pointer of the game pitting the score at 23-21. Fairfield would not get the lead back during the first half and Iona went into the locker room leading 27-24.
After Kelsey Careypicked up her third foul early in the third quarter, the senior helped the Stags in other ways. Carey dished out back-to-back assists as Cooper and Smith connected on their layups which started a 13-0 run for Fairfield and gave the Stags a 39-33 lead. During that run, Smith, who played in just six minutes in the first half with foul trouble, scored seven points during the stretch including a traditional 3-point play.
The Gaels would finish the third frame strong on their own 7-0 run with the capper coming on Amelia Motz’s buzzer beating put back to give Iona a 47-42 lead going to the final quarter. The battle on the glass was something the Stags struggled with all game long as Motz’s offensive board was the 13th for the Gaels through the first 30 minutes, with Fairfield tallying just one.
After an opening score by Carey in the fourth put the Fairfield deficit to just three, the Stags could not get any closer the rest of the way.
For the game, the Stags were led in scoring by Smith who tallied 18 points, 16 coming in the second half. For the third time in the last five games, Miller reached double figures finishing with 11 in the contest. Casey Foleyand Landy dished out a team-high five assists while Cooper led the team in rebounding with seven. Fairfield was hurt by their 15 turnovers and the 15 offensive boards they allowed.
The MAAC Preseason Player of the Year Lizarazu conducted the Iona offense with a season-high 10 assists with Lewis tallying a game-high 21 points and DuPree finishing with a career-high 20 points on her Senior Day.
Fairfield will now return home for the final home stand of the season when they welcome Canisius to the George Bisacca Court at Alumni Hall on Thursday at 7pm.