FAIRFIELD, Conn. – It was no secret what the Fairfield University women’s basketball team had to do differently this time around against Canisius. They needed more production from their guards who combined for just two points in their loss against the Griffs last month. Tonight, the backcourt responded, combining for 21 points including a career-high 15 points from sophomore Kendra Landyin her first career home start which helped lead the Stags to a 57-48 victory against Canisius. With the victory, the Stags clinched a first-round bye into the MAAC Quarterfinals and will play their first game of the tournament next Saturday.
Although Landy’s career-high scoring number sticks out in the box score, every guard that touched the court today had some positive effect. Kristen McLaughlin’s corner 3-poiner with 1:44 left in the second quarter did more than just give the Stags an 18-16 lead; it gave them momentum. Prior to that basket, both teams struggled scoring as the squads combined for just 34 points during the first 18 minutes of the game. Her 3-pointer would be followed by another long range shot from Sam Kramerwhich gave the Stags a five-point lead going into halftime.
Fairfield (15-13; 12-7 MAAC) kept that momentum in the third quarter, hitting their first five shots out of the intermission, including a 3-pointer from Landy that beat the shot clock buzzer. During that stretch, the MAAC leader in assist-to-turnover ratio Casey Foleydished out three assists in a two minute span helping the Stags attain a .727 shooting percentage in the third. Those offensive numbers allowed Fairifeld to open up a 13-point advantage heading into the final quarter.
It would not all go that easily for the Stags, as Canisius (9-19; 8-11 MAAC) cut that 13-point lead to just two after opening the fourth on a 13-2 run right before the 5:00 media timeout. The Stags brought that lead back to a sizeable advantage at eight points on two layups from Casey Smithand one from Kelsey Carey and also held Canisius off the scoring column for three minutes. Fairfield would ice the game by hitting seven of their final eight free throws, including six-straight from Landy.
In her first home start, Landy set career-high in points (15), free throws made (eight), and tied a personal best with four rebounds. Carey led all scorers with 18 points, which now places her 26th all-time in program history. She also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
One the other side of the ledger, Maria Welch led all Griffs players with 17 points coming off the bench, including three 3-pointers. Welch was the only Griff to hit a 3-point field goal as the rest of the team went 0-for-12 from long range. Sara Hinriksdottir was one board shy of a double-double, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds.
With the victory, combined with a Marist loss to Quinnipiac, the Stags have clinched a first-round bye and will play their first game in the MAAC Tournament next Saturday.
Fairfield will still be fighting for the third-seed in that tournament when they host Rider on Senior Day at 2pm. With a victory, the Stags will clinch that number three seed and will open up tournament play on Saturday, March 4 at noon. Before the contest, the program will honor the three member Class of 2017 with Smith, Carey, and Kristine Millerbeing recognized. The festivities will begin around 1:45pm.