Although the Fairfield women’s basketball team played neck and neck with Cornell last Monday, the game came to a disappointing ending as the Big Red defeated the Stags 58-47.

Heading into the game, expectations were high. The Stags were looking to get their 250th win in Alumni Hall, but unfortunately, Cornell was able to play the game the Stags usually play the best, just a little better.

After a quick four points by Casey Smith ‘16 and Helena Orts ‘18, Cornell was able to hold the Stags and score the next four points, putting them ahead 11-4 in the first 10 minutes of the first half.

“Cornell’s intensity level in the first 10 minutes got us back on our heels and they set the tone,” said Head Coach Joe Frager. “We scrambled after that to get back in the game and we were never able to get back in the flow after that. We were never able to get back into the rhythm.”

Junior Kristin Schatzlein played a huge role in the first half, making a majority of points for the team. She was able to make a huge play for the team, posting a three-pointer with three minutes remaining in the first half that nearly split Cornell’s lead over Fairfield in half. However, despite Schatzlein’s efforts, along with the rest of her team, the Stags headed back to the locker room behind Cornell 33-24.

In the second half of the game, Cornell dominated and Fairfield was forced to come back from their biggest point deficit in the game. Now behind by 14 points, Kristine Miller ‘17 stepped up and was able to change the tone of the game for the Stags. Within two minutes, Miller posted two points, one assist resulting from a steal at midcourt, and two rebounds.

“Kristine really battled tonight and played a really strong game for us tonight,” said Frager.

The sophomore was determined to get her team ahead after a slow first half.

“I wanted to be a spark off the bench. I wanted to get our team some energy to fight back as hard as we could and I just wanted to make the biggest impact that I could,” said Miller.

Unfortunately, the Stags struggled to get past Cornell. In the second half, Fairfield was only able to make four points off of turnovers, while Cornell made 10. Despite constant subbing and multiple timeouts in the remaining 10 minutes of the game, Fairfield failed to execute the plays to get the victory against Cornell.

The Stags fell to Cornell 58-47 and although it was an out-of-conference game, the team was extremely disappointed with the loss. Frager added that Cornell plays a very similar game to theirs and when it came to the end, Cornell was playing the better game.

“It’s just us. It’s not what they did right, it’s all on us,” said Miller. “We all have to grow on an individual level and work harder to improve our own personal game and reduce our own mistakes.”

Now 1-5 in out-of-conference play, the Stags are hoping that these extremely difficult games have helped prepare them for upcoming Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play. This season, the Stags have been chosen to finish fourth in the MAAC, according to the pre-season poll. However, the team is looking to finish in the top three and they are hoping that losses like teams to Cornell will work to their advantage in the future.

“As long as we buy into Coach Frager’s philosophy, we will be a successful team,” said Miller. “As long as we fight and do what we are supposed to do, we’ll be ready going into MAAC play.”

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