FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The final game of the 2016 calendar season for the Fairfield University women’s basketball team will take place in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The Stags will re-open Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play when they travel to the McCann Arena to take on the Marist Red Foxes on Friday at 7pm. The two teams have played several memorable games at the venue in recent years, with their last four matchups decided by five or fewer points.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: When you combine the quality of the opposition and the way they executed, you can say the Stags are coming off one of their best overall performances of the season despite the 73-59 setback at Temple. For three quarters, the Stags went toe-to-toe against a Temple team that picked up a win over nationally ranked DePaul last week. Fairfield actually led by six in the third quarter before a 20-0 run by the Owls which stretched into the fourth quarter determined the outcome of the game. What was impressive about the performance was how the team responded whenever Temple tried to take over the game. The Stags shot 44 percent in the first half while tallying 31 points in the stanza. Fairfield was on the wrong end of two buzzer beaters with Temple connecting on a last second shot in the second and third quarters to take the lead each time. Samantha Cooper continued to be the iron player for the Stags this season as the redshirt junior set a career-high with five 3-pointers and was one point shy of a personal best with 21 points.
FAIRFIELD AT THE MCCANN ARENA: The Stags will enter a venue where MAAC teams have struggled over the last 12 years. Marist enters the game with a 109-12 record against MAAC opponents at the McCann Arena. Those numbers include a 42-game winning streak against conference opponents at home. However, the Stags have experienced some success at the arena, winning two of their last three games in the venue. With their wins in 2014 and 2015, the Stags became the first MAAC team in over a decade to win back-to-back games at the McCann Arena. Fairfield followed up those two performances with a one-point setback last season. In fact, the last four games between the two teams at the McCann Arena have been decided by fewer than five points.
THE RED FOXES SCOUTING REPORT: After graduating their two All-MAAC players from last season and nearly 56 percent of their scoring, the Red Foxes entered this season looking for other players to fill those voids. Marist has accomplished that goal with the rise of one of the best freshmen in the conference in Rebekah Hand. After being ranked #151 nationally as a recruit, Hand has shown that potential by winning five MAAC Rookie of the Week awards and is currently the team leader in points (15.4), 3-pointers (23), rebounds (6.7), and free throw percentage (.800). As a team, the Red Foxes are 4-2 since picking up their first win of the season against North Carolina A&T. The Red Foxes have done this by making their identity as a shooting team. Marist averages 7.7 3-pointers per game which ranks second in the conference (Monmouth) and 48th in the nation.
UP NEXT: The Stags will complete their longest road trip of the season when they travel to Monmouth for a game with the Hawks on Wednesday, January 4 at 7pm.