The Fairfield Women’s Basketball team celebrated their Senior Day on Sunday, a day designated to celebrate and honor the members on the team for their four years of hard work and dedication.
The one thing that was left out of the celebration? A victory in the game, as they were soundly defeated by the Marist Red Foxes 70-33.
A week earlier, their male counterparts had their Senior Day, but they too could not capitalize on the emotional day, falling in the Bracketbuster game against Albany 58-50. By the end of the day Sunday, the women’s team might have wished they had come even that close.
“We just took an old-fashioned butt-whoopin’ today,” said Head Coach Joe Frager after the loss.
“With only having Katie [Cizynski ‘14] out there, we only had one low-post presence, and they were able to double- and triple-team her, so it was very hard to get anything going inside,” said Frager. Cizynski was without fellow junior forward Brittany Obi-Tabot, who did not play due to an injury. Frager said she was day-to-day with the injury, and wasn’t sure of her full availability for the MAAC Tournament.
The Stags kept pace with Marist for awhile, as they were trailing just 16-13 with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half. But Fairfield would go on an unconscionably long cold streak for the rest of the first half that even extended into the second, as they would not score any more points until nearly the 14 minute mark of the second half; after they had been trailing 38-13 at half, and after the baskets were trailing 43-15.
“We missed a lot of open looks in the first half,” said Frager. “We were down by 25 or so at half, but if we make some of those shots, maybe it’s a 10, 12 or 14 point game at halftime, and the emotion and the complexion of the whole game changes.”
The Stags shot a dismal 8 percent from beyond the arc, going just 2 for 26 from three point range and just 13 of 55 from the floor overall, good for 24 percent for the game. The leading scorer for Fairfield was Cizynski with eight points. The three seniors scored just 2 points each in the loss.
For the seniors, it is a tough way to say goodbye to the court where they have played for the last four years, but they know that it is not the last game they will play, and they still have at least one more game in the MAAC Tournament to make up for Sunday’s loss.
“It’s bittersweet, we’ve done a lot and I think we’ve grown up [while at Fairfield] … but I think we’re really proud of what we’ve given,” said Linney.
“After this game, it was tough to think positively, but that game doesn’t dictate what we’ve done here in four years,” said Macfarlane. “… It was really nice for those fifteen minutes for them to honor us, but then we quickly had to switch back to focus on the game.”
During the pre-game ceremonies, both homeland national anthems were played for MacFarlane and Vetra, who are from Canada and Latvia, respectively.
“That was crazy, I didn’t think they were going to find the Latvian national anthem and the flag,” said Vetra, “I don’t know where they got it, but that was awesome.”
Despite the loss, Frager made it clear that the game was in no way a reflection of what the seniors on this team meant to him.
“I told the seniors during the last timeout, ‘This is not indicative of the last four years that you’ve given us’ … we’re still really, really proud of them,” said Frager. “It was a really touching beginning of the day, it was a nice ceremony with the respective anthems and everything, and I actually felt myself getting a little bit misty eyed during both international anthems. They’ve meant a lot to us and what happened today doesn’t change that.”
“This game was really hard to swallow,” said MacFarlane, “but it’s really important to come out on Friday and show how we really can play.”
“As coach was saying, we just have to come back on Friday and take care of business, so that this is all forgotten,” said Vetra. “That’s when it matters.”
For Marist, they finish the season undefeated in conference play for the third time in six years, and will head to Springfield for the MAAC Tournament with the number one seed. Fairfield falls to the three seed with the loss, and will play sixth seeded Siena on Friday at 11:30 a.m. at the MassMutual Center.