FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Kristine Millergathered the two other members of the senior class before walking into Alumni Hall for the final time on a game day and told them, ‘Let’s go out and have one more great moment at Alumni and get the win.’ And in nail-biting fashion again, the Fairfield University Women’s Basketball team sent the senior class out with that victory, taking a 53-49 decision against the Rider Broncs. With the victory, the Stags cemented the number three seed in next week’s MAAC Tournament and will play the winner of sixth-seeded Marist and 11th-seeded Saint Peter’s on Saturday at noon.
It seems only fitting that the biggest play of the game came from one of those three members on the senior class. With the Stags (16-13; 13-7 MAAC) holding on to a two-point lead with less than three seconds to go, Kelsey Careygrabbed an offensive rebound and converted the put back to put the score at 53-49 with 1.5 seconds left on the clock. Rider (22-7; 16-4 MAAC) was not able to get a shot off to end the game.
The Stags came out with as much energy as they have displayed this season, but had to still persevere after enduring a first quarter where they shot just 15 percent and put up five points.
The offensive breakthrough of the game came in the second frame where the Stags outscored Rider 21-12 paced by a 60 percent shooting clip and a 2-for-3 shooting mark from behind the arc.
The Stags brought a seven-point lead into the final quarter, holding a tremendous Rider offense to just 30 points through the first 30 minutes of the game. Rider got to as close as two points with 33 seconds left in the game after Julia Duggan converted a traditional three-point play to make the score 51-49, setting up Carey’s heroics.
With the win, Fairfield now knows their place in the tournament as the number three seed. With the loss, Rider loses a share of the MAAC Regular Season title and will be the number two seed in that tournament.
Carey paced three Stags in double figures with 14 points. Kendra Landyhad her second-straight double-digit performance putting up 12 points and Samantha Cooperfinished a double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and a perfect 3-for-3 from long range.
Defensively, the Stags help Rider to a 13 percent shooting percentage from behind the arc, the second-straight contest where they limited the opposition to just three 3-pointers.
The Stags will now enter the conference tournament, playing their first contest on Saturday at noon against the winner of Marist and Saint Peter’s.