The Fairfield University women’s basketball team (7-2) played Marist College (7-2) this past Thursday, Jan. 30, and The Mirror’s happy to report that it’s comeback season. Marist is the second seed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, with Fairfield trailing right behind them as the third seed. While Fairfield didn’t start off the game too strong, they never lost their fight and ended up pulling out a very exciting win. They ended the game 52-48, and the energy in Alumni Hall was unbelievable.
Starters included Sam Kramer ‘20, Katie Armstrong ‘20, Callie Cavanaugh ‘21, Lou Lopez-Senechal ‘22 and Rachel Hakes ‘22. The game kicked off well, with Armstrong winning the tip off and sending it straight to Hakes. Kramer quickly got back-to-back rebounds that lead her to score the first basket of the game. By the end of the game, Kramer had seven rebounds. Fairfield kept the momentum going with Lopez-Senechal clinching a basket under shot-clock pressure. Marist is both a tough and physical team, so Fairfield started pressing them only four minutes in. Marist quickly took the lead after a few turnovers that lead to wide open shots. Fans saw Sam Lewis ’21, Andrea Hernangomez ’22 and graduate student Kendra Landy make it into the first quarter. Lopez-Senechal had a powerful block that caused hysterics from the crowd. At the end of the first quarter, the Stags were down 21-8.
Marist had been playing some tight defense, and Fairfield needed to step it up and match that energy. The Stags also hadn’t been hitting as many shots as they should, whereas Marist quickly climbed to 21 points. But the Stags came out blazing in the second quarter. Armstrong had a fantastic block to get things going, and it led to Lopez-Senechal hitting a three-pointer. Lopez-Senechal totaled three three-pointers and lead the team with 15 points this game; the only other player to hit the 15 points mark was Kramer. The Stags bounced back and started putting a lot of pressure on Marist, who fumbled a bit under the pressure. Cavanaugh hit three out of four free throws to bring the score up, and Kramer had a lovely play where she snatched her own rebound and took the ball right back up to the hoop. The Stags were only down by one point at the end of the first half, with a score of 28-27.
They came back to the court with insane energy that you could feel radiating through the floorboards of Alumni. Fairfield started pressing again after only three minutes of game play. At this point in the game, Hernangomez got back in and showed us why her team was so good. She immediately had a steal to get going, and then had a great play with Lopez-Senechal down low. Hernangomez later banked two points and a free throw to steal the lead. The third quarter concluded in Fairfield’s favor, 39-38.
By this point in the game, fans were going crazy and Fairfield showed no signs of slowing down. Hernangomez accidentally bodied a player on Marist and got a foul, but followed up with a crazy block that made the crowd go absolutely wild. With two minutes left in the game, the Stags were up 49-43 and every fan was on their feet. Fairfield performed well under the pressure and was able to cinch the win, with a final score of 52-48.
Sam Kramer, one of Fairfield’s star players since her freshman year, was extremely proud of the comeback they made. When asked how they could rally and bring the heat come the second quarter, Kramer said, “After losing and having a slow start vs. Rider two days prior, we knew we couldn’t waste another second…The second quarter was huge in terms of our confidence and momentum heading into the second half.”
The Stags are in the height of their season, and only had one day to prepare for this game. “It was important that everyone was locked in for those two to three hours we were in the gym and watching film. We really keyed in on player tendencies and having control of the pace of the game,” said Kramer.
When asked about any standout moments in the game, Kramer pointed to Andrea Hernangomez and her trailblazing performance. “My first thought was Andrea’s block in the fourth quarter…Sometimes scoring isn’t what always brings the energy…Defensive plays that like that one had everyone yelling and cheering in Alumni…Her energy throughout the fourth quarter was contagious and contributed greatly to sealing the win.”
It’s easy to see that the energy this team has and the connection they have on and off the court is a big reason why they always deliver. Make sure you tune in on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7:00 p.m. to see the Stags face off against Niagara University in Niagara, NY.