Women's Basketball Travels to UIC for WBI Semifinals on Thursday

Courtesy: Fairfield University
         
Release: March 26, 2014
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Sixth-seeded Fairfield will travel to fourth-seed University Illinois Chicago for the semifinals of the 2014 Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) on Thursday, March 27. Tip-off is set for 5:30pm (CDT).

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Fairfield (22-10) vs. UIC (24-9): The Stags and the Flames will meet for the first time ever.

Scouting the Flames: Fourth-seeded UIC picked up the first road postseason victory in program history on Monday with a 93-91 win over top-seeded Eastern Michigan to advance to the WBI semifinals. Down 91-90 Eastern Michigan, Ruvanna Campbell converted a three-point play with eight seconds on the clock to put the Flames ahead. EMU’s Shannise Heady missed two straight jumpers as time expired and UIC escaped with a two-point victory. Rachel Story dropped in 27 points while Campbell collected her 24th double-double of the season with 27 points and a career-high 23 rebounds. Campbell’s 23 rebounds are a WBI record and the second highest in program history. The Flames defeated IPFW, 84-71, in the WBI opening round for their first-ever national postseason win.  As a team, UIC is averaging 74.3 points per game and shooting a collective 42.9 percent from the field. The Flames are out-rebounding opponents 43.0-35.2 on the season. Story, a transfer from Louisville, is averaging 18.4 points this season. She earned All-Horizon League Second Team honors. Campbell, the 2014 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year and All-Horizon League First Team selection, is averaging 12.7 rebounds and 16.8 points per game with 48 blocks.  Senior Katie Hannemann is averaging 14.7 points and 7.5 boards this season. UIC owns the nation’s second largest turnaround with 15 more victories than in the 2012-13 season. The Flames set the program record with 22 wins and tied the program record with 11 straight victories from Nov. 15 - Jan. 3. The Flames earned the fourth seed in the Horizon League Championship, advancing to the semifinals where they fell to Green Bay.

Fairfield in the WBI: Fairfield is making its first WBI semifinal appearance. The Stags have advanced to the WBI quarterfinals in all three tournament appearances. Fairfield is the first MAAC team to advance to the WBI semifinals since 2012 when Manhattan made its second-straight appearance.

About the WBI: In its fifth season, the WBI is a 16-team tournament split into two regions (East & West).  The East Region consists of top-seeded Eastern Michigan, Bucknell, Bryant, Evansville, Fairfield, UIC, IPFW, and Maine. In the West Region, Grand Canyon earned the top-seed and will face Boise State. Rounding out the West Region are Stephen F. Austin, Texas State, College of Charleston, USC Upstate, Northern Kentucky, and McNeese State.

Fairfield in the National Postseason: The Stags are making their fourth national postseason appearance in the last five seasons. The Stags qualified for the WBI in 2010, 2013, and 2014 and had a bid to the WNIT in 2012.

On the Road: Fairfield is 9-5 on the road this season. As a team, Fairfield is averaging 60.5 points, 35.1 rebounds, and 13.0 turnovers while opponents are averaging 61.3 points, 34.4 rebounds, and 10.8 turnovers. Individually, Katie Cizynski is averaging 17.4 points and 9.4 rebounds on the road while Kristin Schatzlein is averaging 10.3 points with 40 assists. Under Head Coach Joe Frager, Fairfield is 58-43 in road contests during the regular season.

Last Time Out: Senior Katie Cizynski posted her 13th double-double of the season to power the sixth-seeded Stags to a 63-50 victory over seventh-seeded Maine on March 23 in the WBI quarterfinals at Alumni Hall. Cizynski tied a career-high with 26 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, tied a career-high with five assists, and blocked two shots. Senior Alexys Vazquez finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Fairfield shot 52.5 percent (21-for-40) from the field while Maine shot just 33.9 percent (20-for-59). The Stags also went 18-for-21 from the free throw line and out-rebounded the Black Bears, 33-27.

Fast Breaks: With a victory against Maine, the Stags would face the winner of the Stephen F. Austin/College of Charleston in the WBI Championship final on March 29 or March 30 … Fairfield has won 14 of its last 17 entering Thursday’s game … Fairfield’s 22 victories this year are tied for the fifth most in single season history … Point guard Felicia DaCruz has had more assists than turnovers in 30 of 32 games this season, including a streak of 18 games to begin the year … Sophomore Kristin Schatzlein is averaging 13.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists over her last six games … Senior Katie Cizynski is averaging 19.3 points and 10.2 boards over her last six games … Fairfield shot 75 percent in the first half against Maine, its best effort of the year … Fairfield held Maine to 13 first-half points, the lowest total of the year … The Stags’ string of 16 games with fewer turnovers than assists was snapped on March 23 against Maine when they committed 21 turnovers with 14 assists … Fairfield has won the opening tip in 27 of 32 games this season … Fairfield is 11-0 when three players score in double figures … Fairfield is 9-2 when both Katie Cizynski and Brittany Obi-Tabot score in double figures … Fairfield is 17-3 when leading at halftime and 5-7 when trailing … Fairfield is 20-3 when leading with five minutes left in the game and 2-7 when trailing.

Single Season Marks: Senior Alexys Vazquez set the Fairfield single season record for three-pointers made with 92 this season. Vazquez is shooting 40.9 percent from three-point range, the sixth best single-season effort in program history. Vazquez’s 228 three-pointers attempted ranks as second most. Katelyn Linney owns the record with 242 during the 2011-12 season … Sophomore Kristin Schatzlein has made 62 three-pointers this season, tying her for ninth most … Sophomore Felicia DaCruz has registered 177 assists, good for fourth on the single season list. Liz Sterling is the record holder with 197 … Senior Katie Cizynski has scored 544 points this season, the third-most in single season history. Cizynski has made 235 field goals, the third-best single season total. Katrina Fields attempted the most field goals in a season with 249 during 1983-84.

National Notice: Fairfield checked into the NCAA statistical rankings entering through games on March 23. As a team, Fairfield was ranked 19th in three-point field goal percentage (.368), 16th in turnovers per game (12.5), and 26th in assist-turnover ratio (1.23). Junior point guard Felicia DaCruz was ranked fourth in assist-turnover ratio (3.34), her highest ranking of the year, and 34th in assists per game (5.5). Senior Alexys Vazquez was ranked 24th in three-pointers made per game (2.88) and 24th in three-point field goal percentage (.409).