JERSEY CITY, N.J. – With Kelsey Careyand Casey Smithgrabbing all the attention during the Stags’ recent hot streak, one player has risen under the radar and she has been one of the unsung leaders of this team all season long. Kristine Millertallied 15 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds as the Fairfield University Women’s Basketball team never trailed in defeating the Saint Peter’s Peacocks 56-39 on the road. For Miller, it was the fourth time in the last five games she has reached double figures in scoring, a span where she is shooting 79 percent from the floor.
For the fourth-straight game, the Stags (14-11, 11-5 MAAC) scored on their first possession with Macey Hollensheadnailing a wide-open corner jumper 17 seconds into the game. It was the third time during that stretch where Hollenshead opened up the scoring for the Stags. The defensive theme started from the start as Fairfield forced two-straight Saint Peter’s (3-22, 2-14 MAAC) shot clock violations to begin the game.
The first quarter was tightly contested until back-to-back jumpers from Carey extended the Stags lead to five. That advantage was shrunk to just one point early in the second quarter until the Stags pulled out a 9-0 run which started with a traditional three-point play by Carey and a 3-point field goal by Sam Kramer. Carey added four-more points down the stretch of the half to bring her total to 13 first half points and gave the Stags a 28-16 lead at the half.
The defense once again became the theme for the Stags in the third quarter as Saint Peter’s misfired on their first nine field goal attempts and recorded just a 2-for-12 scoring mark in the third frame. During that time, Miller accounted for four of the team’s first six points and tallied six overall in the third frame. Miller gave the team more depth as Smith suffered from foul trouble. Miller’s two free throws gave the Stags a 15 point lead in the third quarter, which was their largest until Smith’s layup gave Fairfield a 17-point advantage with 2:07 left in the game.
This was the second-straight game where the Stags never trailed and the third time in their last four outings. During that span, the Stags have trailed for just 29 seconds.
For the fourth-straight game, the Fairfield bench outscored their opposition as the Stags held a 26-21 advantage. Miller led all bench players with 15 points while the Peacocks’ Sajanna Bethea tallied 13 bench points for the home side, with seven points coming from the free throw line.
Fairfield’s leading scorer, Carey, led all players with 19 points on 7-for-15 shooting. On the other side, Fairfield held Saint Peter’s leading scorer Talah Hughes to a season-low four points, breaking her personal streak of 11-straight games in double figures.
On the defensive side, Miller matched a season-high and led all players with three steals. Casey Foleyadded two, the 11th-straight game where she has tallied at least one swipe. Fairfield forced 19 turnovers while allowing just five assists in the game.
The Peacocks shot 3-for-14 from behind the arc and their opponents are shooting just 14 percent over their last four games. The Stags entered the game ranked in the top-30 in the country in 3-point field goal defense.
This win marks the 11th-straight winning record in the MAAC for the Stags, with the last 10 coming under Head Coach Joe Frager. Those 10 years extends his conference record with 10-straight winning MAAC seasons to start a career.
It also marked the ninth time in Frager’s 10 seasons that the Stags have recorded a winning streak of five games or more.
The Stags will put that winning streak to the test when they welcome the Marist Red Foxes to Alumni Hall on Thursday at 7pm. It will also be the annual Play4Kay game for the Stags as the team will be raising money and awareness for the Kay Yow Fund and breast cancer research. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPN3.