ALBANY, N.Y. – The Fairfield University Women’s Basketball team is one win away from competing for the MAAC title. The only thing standing in their way between them and a spot in the Championship game is the second-seeded Rider Broncs, led by the MAAC Coach of the Year Lynn Milligan. With a win, the Stags will advance to the title game for the 11th time in program history and the first time since 2012. The two teams will square off at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. at 1:30pm on Sunday on ESPN3.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The Stags advanced to the MAAC Semifinals in a complete team win against sixth-seeded Marist 61-44. It was the first victory over the Red Foxes in the tournament in program history, snapping their 0-4 record. Eight different Stags got into the scoring column, including five different players with at least seven points. In fact, in the first quarter five different Stags accounted for the first seven baskets of the game. The Stags only trailed twice in the game, falling behind 3-0 and 4-2 on baskets by Maura Fitzpatrick. After Casey Foley gave the Stags the lead with a 3-pointer at 5-4, the Stags would not trail again. Fairfield led by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter, and led by double digits for the final 12:28 of the game. Kelsey Carey led the Stags with 15 points and Casey Smith was next in line with 12, but those were the only two Stags to reach double figures. Kendra Landy orchestrated the offense, dishing out seven assists to go along with her seven points.
THE STAGS IN THE SEMIFINALS: This is the 22nd appearance for the Stags in the MAAC Semifinals, and the second time in the last three years. Fairfield has a 10-11 record in those games, with their last win coming against Siena in 2012 and their last loss coming against Marist in 2015. The Stags are 2-3 in their last semifinal games under Head Coach Joe Frager, as he has led the Stags to appearances in the MAAC Final Four in: 2008 (loss to Iona), 2009 (loss to Canisius), 2010 (win vs Iona), 2012 (win vs Siena), and 2015 (loss to Marist).
THE BRONCS SCOUTING REPORT: The surprising Rider Broncs are making their first appearance in the MAAC Semifinals since defeating Fairfield in the Quarterfinals during the 2013-14 season. Led by the MAAC Coach of the Year, Lynn Milligan, the Broncs have posted one of the biggest surprises in the country by taking a team pre-ranked eighth to the second seed. The Broncs are usually led by the MAAC Player of the Year Robin Perkins, but the senior has missed the last several games with an injury. The Broncs have not lost a beat since the injury, going 6-1 in that span. To make up for the injury, Rider has used a team effort led by All-MAAC Second Team member Kamila Hoskova who leads the squad at 12.6 points per game. Rider also homes one of the best post players in the conference in Julia Duggan, who was named to the All-MAAC Third Team. Duggan, who has posted two double-doubles against the Stags this season, leads the conference with 8.3 rebounds per game.