FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Fairfield University women’s basketball team will play the first of seven home games during the final 10 contests of the 2016-17 regular season when they open up a four game home stand against Monmouth on Thursday at 7pm on George Bisacca Court at Alumni Hall. The Stags will look to sweep their second-straight season series against the Hawks after Fairfield rallied for one of the biggest comebacks in program history in their first matchup. Fairfield rallied from 18 points down for a three point victory in their first game of the 2017 calendar year.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The Stags split their annual stay in Western New York and are coming off a 63-49 loss to Canisius, just their second loss to the Griffins in the last 15 tries. After starting the game on a 10-5 run, the Stags could not find their rhythm offensively, being out-scored in every quarter of the game. Canisius built their lead by recording a 73 percent (8-for-11) shooting mark in the second quarter which is the highest in any quarter the Stags have allowed this season. The Griffs continued their offensive production going into the second half by shooting an even 50 percent in the third quarter. Fairfield did have one run in them as they cut a Canisius lead which was as much as 15 points to just five in the fourth quarter. The Griffs responded with a 5-0 run to bring the advantage back to double digits. The Stags’ ‘Big Three’ all tallied double figures with Kelsey Carey leading the team with 20 points. Cooper’s 15 and Smith’s 10 followed her effort. As for the rest of the team, the combined eight players tallied four points combined while shooting 2-for-10 from the field.
COOP IN THE MAAC: Redshirt junior Samantha Cooper is in the midst of her best season in a Fairfield uniform. The Canadian native leads the league in rebounding (8.4), and minutes played (37.5, the eighth highest number in the nation. In conference only games, Cooper has been arguably one of the best overall players in the league. In those 10 games, she leads the conference in rebounding (9.6), assists (4.0), while placing 23rd in points per game (11.7). No other player in the MAAC ranks in the top-10 in both rebounds and assists. The closest peer to that would be Aryn McClure of Quinnipiac who ranks 15th in rebounds and ninth in assists.
THE HAWKS SCOUTING REPORT: To those who look at Monmouth’s 9-9 record and think they are just an average team, just take a look at what they did just two games ago. Monmouth became the first MAAC team in 26 tries to defeat Quinnipiac, doing so with a 61-58 home victory. That win snapped Quinnipiac’s 25-game regular season MAAC winning streak that started after a loss to Monmouth on January 2, 2016. The focal point for the Monmouth offense is built around the perimeter as the Hawks attempt 27.6 3-pointers per game, the 16th highest number in the country. Monmouth makes 9.2 of those attempts per contest which is good enough to lead the league and rank ninth in the nation. Rookie Kayla Shaw has been the leader on the shooting barrage as her 3.0 3-pointers made per game is tops in the MAAC and she also leads the team with 11.9 points per game. Another dangerous weapon the Hawks have is their depth with 10 student-athletes averaging more than 12 minutes per game. Monmouth also has 10 players on their roster who have netted at least one 3-pointer this season.
UP NEXT: The Stags will stay on the George Bisacca Court at Alumni Hall when they welcome Niagara on Sunday at 2pm.