After dropping two games on the road to conference foes Quinnipiac University and Siena College, the Fairfield University Women’s Basketball team bounced back on Saturday, Jan. 27 when they closed out their road trip with a 68-57 victory over the Rider Broncs. For the Stags, Samantha Cooper ‘18 would lead the way, scoring a game high 21 points while snatching up 14 rebounds on the game. With the victory, the Stags improved their overall record to 8-12 and 5-4 in conference play.
Both Fairfield and Rider started the game on a strong note as they would exchange points on the first few possessions of the game. But for the Stags, the first quarter was dominated by Khadidiatou Diouf ‘19 on offense as she scored eight of the team’s first 15 points of the game. With just over five minutes remaining in the quarter, the Stags trailed by a slim one-point lead when Diouf took over the Stags’ offense scoring the Stags next six points in a span of three minutes helping Fairfield build a 13-10 lead. Sophomore Sam Kramer would add to the lead by finishing a layup at the rim, giving the Stags the 15-10 advantage after one quarter of play.
The Stags looked to increase their lead in the second quarter of play following a layup off the hands of Kendra Landy ‘19, building the Stags’ lead to seven. Rider would battle back rather quickly to cut Fairfield’s deficit as they trimmed the lead to two in just two minutes. The rest of the quarter would see both teams battling as they exchanged shot after shot. Tied at 23 with two minutes remaining on the half, Diouf would get to the line to shoot two after being fouled by Rider. After connecting on both shots from the charity line, the Stags had a two-point advantage up until the next possession as Rider’s Lexi Posset knocked down a shot from the three to give them a one-point edge to close out the first half up 26-25.
Rider would carry the momentum from the previous quarter to start the second half as they scored five quick points to increase their lead to six after the Broncs converted on two shots from the field and another from the free throw line. With less than eight minutes remaining in the quarter, the Stags would shift the momentum their way as they would embark on a 14-0 run to take the lead.
Senior Macey Hollenshead got things going for the Stags on the scoring run as she scored a season high eight points in a two-minute span including a couple of shots from the field goal while also connecting on a shot beyond the arc. Hollenshead’s scoring lifted the Stags past Rider giving them a two-point edge after the senior guard finished on a contested layup and adding another point from the charity stripe, giving Fairfield the 33-31 lead. Junior Casey Foley and Sam Kramer ‘20 would close out the run by adding consecutive three-point shots to increase the Stags advantage to eight at 39-31.
The Stags’ 14-0 run was all Fairfield needed, as they would never relinquish the lead carrying the momentum to the final quarter of play. The final quarter of play saw the Stags increase their lead up to 14, the biggest lead of the contest with just over a minute remaining in the game. The Stags would close out the game on a strong note, picking up the 68-57 win over the Rider Broncs to close out their three game road trip.
For the Stags, Cooper lead all scorers in both points and rebounds with a total of 21 points and 14 boards. Cooper’s game high 14 rebounds gave her a total of 900 career rebounds making her the fifth Stag to reach that feat. Cooper’s 21 points pushed her ahead of three players on the all-time scoring list as she now ranks No. 23 on the list. Cooper wasn’t the only Stag to score double figures as Hollenshead finished with a career high 14 points, while Diouf and Kramer added 12 points, respectively.
The Stags will look to carry the momentum on Friday, Feb. 2 when they host Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foe and in-state rival, Quinnipiac University at the George Bisacca Court at Alumni Hall.