The Fairfield University women’s basketball team hosted the Rider University Broncs for senior night in the final home game for the Stags during the regular season on March 3.
Seven seniors were celebrated in the ceremony: Lou Lopez-Senechal, Rachel Hakes, Andrea Hernangomez, Callie Cavanaugh, Jazmine Carter and graduate students Sam Lewis and Sydney Lowry.
With a record of 10-1 at Webster Bank Arena, the Stags only failed to beat Yale University in November and were looking to continue their winning ways in front of the home crowd.
Although Rider has been struggling on the year and is in the bottom half of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, they still are a team that poses many threats and that was apparent on Thursday night.
The Stags started the game very strong, edging a three point lead heading into the second quarter. Neither team was shooting particularly well, but the Stags did have four different scorers in the opening quarter.
They continued to add pressure on the Broncs in the second, expanding their lead to the biggest of the game thus far at five points with a score of 12-17. While the Stags were making their shots, so was Rider, who simply wasn’t going away.
The game was staying consistent around the four point margin, with each team trading baskets and remaining stubborn, until the Broncs went on a 9-2 run to end the half and took a two point lead with a score of 30-28.
Fairfield was getting heavy production out of their seniors, who were doing most of the scoring in the first half, with Lopez-Senechal, Cavanaugh and Hernangomez all sinking multiple baskets.
If the Stags wanted to take back the lead, they were going to have to keep relying on their experienced leaders to win this game, and that’s exactly what they did.
Fairfield would start the scoring in the third thanks to a Syndey Lowry three, taking the lead back and swinging the momentum in favor of the home team. The Stags would score another quick basket, bringing the lead back to the largest of the game, 35-30 Fairfield.
As mentioned earlier, the Broncs may be a team that are not in any conversations for winning the MAAC, but they are certainly a team that will put up a fight for the full forty minutes and that’s what they did against the Stags.
Rider would go on yet another run to end the quarter and scrape a narrow one point lead going into the fourth and final quarter.
With the fear of losing on senior night, star forward Lopez-Senechal went on a scoring rampage, netting 16 points in the final 10 minutes of the game. The France native would end the game with 30, a perfect way to cement her legacy at Webster and at Fairfield.
This was her second straight game with 30 or more, but what was even more impressive was that these 30 points brought to her 1500 total points of her career, becoming the 11th Stag to achieve this honor and third fastest in school history.
“It was great to win the last home game and finish the regular season like we envisioned it,” said Lopez-Senechal. “We talked a month ago about having the best record we could have and we achieved that goal. Now the next goal is to finish on an even higher note by winning the MAAC tournament!”
The combination of Lopez, strong defense and the home crowd was too much for the Broncos, as the Stags ended the game on a big run that made them victorious by a score of 65-61.
This brought their overall record to 21-6 overall and an incredible 18-1 in the MAAC. Crowned regular season champs and the number seed in the tournament, the Stags are extremely focused on winning their conference trophy, then moving on to the National Collegiate Athletic Association March Madness tournament.
“Our mindset is to take things day by day and win game after game,” said Lopez-Senechal. “We want to get to the NCAA tournament but for that, we know that we will have to keep playing the same basketball we’ve been playing all year and most importantly be us and enjoy the moment.”
The Stags then closed out the regular season when they traveled to Saint Peter’s University for a Saturday night game at 7 p.m. on March 5.
Fairfield was able to topple Saint Peter’s by a final score of 56-43 according to the official women’s basketball schedule. This final win brings their overall record to 22-6, with a 19-1 in-conference record, closing the book on another stellar season.