After dropping its first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game against Iona, the Fairfield women’s basketball team looked to win its first MAAC game on Sunday, Dec. 6, but had no easy contest as they hosted the Red Foxes of Marist. Although starting the year with a 1-7 record, Marist is still the powerhouse that the MAAC has been used to. Fairfield jumped to an early lead, but struggled on both ends of the court, as Marist would steal one on the road 72-57.

After the Red Foxes connected for the game’s first bucket, the Stags would crack down defensively. Senior Lizzy Ball came out of the gate hot, scoring seven points on 3-4 shooting while also dishing out three assists at the end of one quarter. “When Lizzy plays that way and hits shots like that, it helps to open things up for us,” said head coach Joe Frager.

The Stags finished the first quarter 23-15. Fairfield shot over 75 percent on 10-13 shooting as they limited Marist to a field goal percentage under 50 percent. “We had a lot of good energy early, but more than anything we made shots and when you play against a good team like Marist, you have to make your shots, so I was happy with our offensive start,” said Frager when asked of his team’s early start.

The second quarter of the game saw Marist’s offense start to settle in. The Red Foxes started the quarter down eight, but after four minutes of play, Marist battled back to take the lead 25-23 as Fairfield struggled to knock down a shot. Although down, the Stags continued to fight, keeping the game close behind seven points and nine rebounds from Samantha Cooper ’18. The Stags were down by 36-33 heading into the half.

The Red Foxes started the half right where they left off as they connected on two consecutive three pointers to push their lead to nine, just three minutes into the third quarter of play. “They were pretty hot in the third quarter, so we’re down three. They come out and hit two threes, so then we’re down nine, and then I think we just kind of just dropped our shoulders and it kind of built up from there. We needed to focus on getting stops and getting back in the game,” said Cooper.

Marist went on a run that left silence around the court at Alumni Hall as they increased their lead to 21. The Red Foxes attempted six shots from three and made all but one, as they shot over 80 percent from the three-point line. The Stags did not enjoy the same success Marist did, as they shot for 20 percent from the field.

“Well, we missed shots, I’ll tell you that much. We had about five or six really good looks at the basket when the game was still a single digit game and that caused it to blow. And Marist at the same time got hot, and I think for about a two-minute stretch, I do think when we missed some shots and the lead got up to nine or 11 there,” said Frager.

With one quarter remaining in the game, the Stags had one last opportunity to cut the lead. But Fairfield’s struggles continued, as the Red Foxes never relinquished their double-digit lead. Behind 20 points apiece from Tori Jarosz and Sydney Coffey, the Red Foxes would pick up their second MAAC win. “They’re two outstanding players. I’ll be really happy when both of them graduate. They’re good. Coffey is as good as any guard in the league and like I said, I think you can make a strong argument that Tori [Jarosz] and/or Coffey are the most talented kids in this conference,” said Frager of Marist’s top players.

For the Stags, Cooper finished the game with 11 points and 11 boards for her fifth career double-double. Junior Kelsey Carey continued her hot play with another double-digit performance with 13 points. Fairfield looks to bounce back as they wrap up their home stand on Wednesday, Dec. 9 when the University of Albany comes to town.

 

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