After a hot start in the first, the Stags struggled in the second half and fell to Marist at a score of 56-50 on Monday. The Stags came off a loss at the hands of Siena, and looked to bounce back on their final home game of the season. The team started the game great on both sides of the court, beginning with an 11-0 run through the first 10 minutes of the game. Fairfield outrebounded Marist and did great at contesting shots, as Marist went 0-5 from beyond the three-point line.
Guard Kristin Schatzlein ‘16 came out the game shooting, and was a big part of the early offense for the Stags, as she finished the half leading all scorers with seven points and added six rebounds.
“I was just really focused on beating Marist,” said Schatzlein. “We always lose by a lot here, so we wanted to make sure that we didn’t lose by a lot. We wanted to obviously win, so I decided in my head that I had to score and be a leader today.”
As the half rolled on, the Stags did a great job of causing turnovers, forcing Marist to commit seven of them by the end of the half. Fairfield contested and limited shots as Marist finished the half shooting just under 20 percent. The Stags entered the half with a 12-point lead, ahead 22-10.
“Very happy with [the first half.] Defensively we played about as well as we could in the first half,” said head coach Joe Frager. “They’re a very, very hard team to guard and I was really happy with our effort. Even though we had a 12-point lead, I thought we had opportunities to stretch it even more. We missed some open shots in the last five minutes of the half that could have pushed that lead a little bit more because there’s no way you can hold a team like that down for a full 40 [minutes] the way we did in the first 20.”
As the second half started, the Stags struggled to score the ball consistently. Just as Fairfield began to struggle, Marist started hitting shots. They started the half shooting over 60 percent from the field. Led by junior Madeline Blais, the Red Foxes rallied back to tie and take the lead. Blais finished the game leading all scorers with 24 points, all from the second half, and converting five shots from three-point territory.
“Maddy Blais is a great shooter. With the way they run offense, she is going to get open,” said Frager. “But then I thought we just had some breakdowns on three or four occasions. I don’t care how good a player is, you really can’t let that player go off for more than 20 points in the second half like she did.”
Marist held a two-point lead with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game.
“In the final possession we had, we tried to get [Felicia] DaCruz ‘15 to the rim, maybe draw some contact, and she did a good job of that, but Tori Jarosz just rotated extremely well and came up with a big block for them,” said Frager of the final play.
After a couple of fouls by Fairfield to send Marist to the free throw line, where they made four shots and extended their lead to six, the Red Foxes came up with the win 56-50.
After the game, Frager spoke to his team and said. “I was really proud of the effort. I wish we had this overall effort today [against Siena]. I wasn’t really happy with our effort against Siena. I thought they played their hearts out today and I thought they fought back. We just talked about better composure down the stretch and I told them I was proud of the effort, and that we just got to get back to work tomorrow.”
Even though the Stags suffered a tough loss, Schatzlein has confidence as they head up north to finish off the last two games of the season and then head to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament.
“We’ll win both. If we play like we did in the first half, we’re going to beat them by a lot,” said Schatzlein. “I think we can go far in the tournament. I think we can win the tournament.”