The Fairfield Stags picked up their fifth consecutive win on Sunday, Feb. 8 when they hosted the visiting Saints of Siena College, who came into the game with a 9-3 record in conference games.
After holding just a slim lead after halftime, Kristine Miller ’17 would explode off the bench to score 14 points and lead the Stags past Siena 67-55. “We don’t win the game today without Millz. We had some foul trouble and she stepped up,” said head coach Joe Frager.
The start to the game would see Fairfield jump out in front after making six of their first nine shots. Senior Kristin Schatzlein got the offense going early as she scored five points in the first five minutes of the game. But, this run would not last long as Siena found holes in Fairfield’s defense that allowed them to take a slim 17-16 lead after one quarter of play.
In the second quarter, both teams cracked down on defense, making shots even more difficult to make. Luckily for the Stags, Schatzlein’s hot shooting continued, as she scored six points on two three pointers, finishing the half with 13 points.
“That’s huge. These guys mix up their defenses well,” said Frager. He added, “it’s important that you knock down some outside shots. Kristin did that for us.” After outscoring Fairfield in the first quarter, the Stags would hold the Saints to just 14 points compared to Fairfield’s 19. After one half of basketball, Fairfield held a 35-31 lead.
Fairfield held the lead at the start of the third quarter, but would hit a rough patch as they struggled to contain Siena’s offense that battled their way to take back the lead, 40-39. “I give a lot of credit to Siena, I think our kids were in the game. I don’t think there was any lack of anything we were doing,” said Frager of his team’s slow start.
“We were down, and they had a burst in the third quarter so I just wanted to do all I could do to contribute to help us,” said Miller of her mindset when she checked into the game. Miller would go on to score Fairfield’s next 11 points; she scored nine straight before the end of the third quarter, to give Fairfield a 48-44 advantage.
Siena had one final opportunity to stay in the game when they cut the Stags’ lead to one with seven minutes left in the game, but Fairfield continued to make shots. Fairfield would go on to dominate the remainder of the fourth quarter and take home the 67-55 victory, increasing their lead as high as 12 points, while Siena struggled to get the ball into the basket.
For Fairfield, Schatzlein lead all scorers with 22 points and five assists. Miller finished the game with 14 points to tie a career-high as Kelsey Carey ’17 continued her solid play of late with a 12-point performance.
When asked about the win, Miller said, “It’s huge; we have five in a row now. I think that’s good coming into the end of the season even though we were kind of rocky in the beginning of the season. It just shows we’re growing and maturing as a team.” Fairfield looks to continue its hot play when they host St. Peter’s on Friday, Feb. 12.