ALBANY, N.Y. – For the second time in the last three years, the Fairfield University Women’s Basketball team are one of the final four teams in the MAAC. This year, the Stags can credit this achievement to another complete team effort as eight different players entered the scoring column as the third-seeded Stags defeated sixth-seeded Marist 61-44 at the Times Union Center. It was the first time in program history that the Stags have beaten Marist in the tournament, breaking a 0-4 mark. Fairfield will now advance to the MAAC Semifinals and take on second-seeded Rider on Sunday at 1:30pm.
“Right now our kids are really, really happy about this win,” Head Coach Joe Fragersaid. “But they weren’t going bananas in the locker room. They realize the task that is ahead of them and they know we have a very quick turn around against a really good Rider team. I don’t think there’s a player who has any selfish aspirations at this stage, it’s really about how far can we go as a team.”
The Stags (17-13) kept firing offensively all game long, outscoring Marist (15-17) in every quarter. Fairfield trailed just twice all afternoon on two shots by Maura Fitzpatrick gave Marist a 3-0 lead and then a 4-2 advantage. Casey Foleywho took just three shots from behind the arc all game, made two crucial makes in this game. The first one gave the Stags a 5-4 lead, and Fairfield would not trail again. Macey Hollensheadgave the Stags their biggest lead of the first quarter as her 3-pointer with five seconds left gave Fairfield a 16-10 lead.
To talk more about the Stags’ balanced effort, the team hit seven field goals in the opening quarter, coming from five different players.
The Stags opened that lead to 16 after another contributor, Sam Kramer’s 3-point make doubled up the score at 32-16. However, Marist got back in the game by scoring nine of the final 11 points of the half, with all the points coming from 3-point range in the final 2:41. The Stags held a nine-point lead going into the half.
Marist would get no closer the rest of the way. After the Stags scored the first six points of the third quarter on two layups from Casey Smithand one from Kelsey Careyput the score at 40-25, the Red Foxes responded with their own 6-0 run to get back to a nine-point deficit, but that was the final run for the Red Foxes.
Fairfield led by as many as 19 points on three different occasions in the fourth quarter and sealed the victory.
Carey led the octet of players in the box score with 15 points and Smith followed her with 12, but those were the only players in double figures. Samantha Cooper, Kristine Miller, and Kendra Landyall chipped in at least seven points apiece and Landy led the charge with seven assists.
Carey also led the defensive effort with a career-high four steals, helping the Stags create 15 Marist turnovers, turning those miscues into 20 points.
Fairfield now advances to the MAAC Semifinals and will take on second-seeded Rider on Sunday at 1:30pm on ESPN3.