FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Fairfield University women’s basketball team will wrap up the road portion of the 2016-17 season when they travel to New Rochelle, N.Y., to take on the reigning MAAC Champions the Iona Gaels on ESPN3. The contest will have significant meaning as both squad are currently fighting for the third spot in the MAAC standings, with the Stags holding a one-game lead. Tip-off is scheduled for 2pm on Sunday.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The Stags had their five-game winning streak snapped by Marist, as the Red Foxes shot 42 percent from behind the arc, helping to avoid any Fairfield comeback attempt. After leading 16-11 after the first quarter, Marist started their hot shooting in the second quarter as they connected on 56 percent of their shots in the quarter to take an eight point halftime lead. After the Stags cut the deficit to just two points on a Casey Foley 3-pointer, Marist ended the first half on an 8-2 run which featured two 3-pointers of their own. Marist kept hitting their shots and eventually extended their lead to 12, which would be their largest of the night. The Stags were able to chip that deficit to just four points on two different occasions in the third quarter, but in each instance Marist brought their lead back to seven on a 3-pointer. Fairfield would not quit and scored nine points in the final 49 seconds of the contest, but Marist converted on 13 of their 16 free throw attempts in the final quarter to seal the win.
SUNDAY FUNDAY: The Stags have relished playing on Sunday this season, posting a 6-1 record on that day so far this season. The six Sunday wins already matches the number of Sunday wins that they had in the previous two seasons combined. Fairfield had four wins on Sunday last season and two during the 2014-15 season. In fact, the six wins on Sunday are the most for the Stags since the 2013-14 season when they also had seven during the regular season. During that season, the Stags finished with seven wins on Sunday, capped by a victory over Maine in the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI).
THE GAELS SCOUTING REPORT: The reigning champions of the MAAC have had an eerily similar season to that of the Stags, as throughout the entire season the Gaels have scored just a single point more than the Stags. Also similarly to the Stags, the offensive production for Iona have come from three players. The trio of Alexis Lewis, Marina Lizarazu and Karynda DuPree have combined for 40.7 points per game, or 69 percent of the team’s scoring. The 1,046 combined points by the three players are the second most by any trio in the MAAC trailing only Benitez, Scarbrough, and Donohue of Siena. The unanimous MAAC Preseason Player of the Year, Lizarazu is in the midst of another stellar season, leading the conference with 3.9 assists per game to go along with 14.1 points. Last year’s MAAC Co-Sixth Player of the Year, Lewis, has doubled her scoring output from last season to average a team-high 16.3 points per game, putting her in the top-five in the conference. Just like they did last season when they won the MAAC, the Gaels are making their name on the defensive front, allowing 58.2 points per game, the second best number in the league. In three of their last four games, the Gaels have not allowed more than 53 points to their opponents.
UP NEXT: The Stags will return home for their final home stand of the season when they welcome Canisius on Thursday at 7pm.