The Fairfield women’s basketball team wrapped up another strong and competitive regular season, finishing with an overall record of 14-5. More importantly, they finished the season with a conference record of 13-7; only Quinnipiac and Marist had better records in conference play than Fairfield. The Stags played well enough to earn the third seed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament for the third consecutive season, giving them a first round bye.

Fairfield is led by forward and first-year player Casey Smith ‘17. Smith leads the team in scoring and in blocks with 12.2 points per game and 27 blocks to close out the season. Smith has earned the MAAC Rookie of the Week honor six times this season. She was selected to be a part of the All-Rookie Team and earned a spot on the All-MAAC Third Team. Smith is Fairfield’s first woman basketball player in history to be named to two All-Conference teams. Teammate Kristin Schatzlein ‘16 also joins Smith on the All-MAAC Third Team representing the Stags. Schatzlein is second on the team in scoring behind Smith with 11.8 points per game. She leads all Stags with 62 made shots from three-point territory. Both Schatzlein and Smith were a part of the starting lineup in every game of this season. The combo averaged 24 of the team’s 57.3 points per game this season.

The Stags will look to get contributions from several players like Samantha Cooper ‘18, who leads the team in rebounds with 6.7 per game. Other role players like Kelsey Carey ‘17, Kristine Miller ‘17 and Felicia DaCruz ‘15 will look to make their presence known on both sides of the court as well. The Stags look to play the same way they have throughout the season, with great defense and good ball movement. The Stags are set to take on the victor between sixth seeded Niagara and 11th seeded Manhattan.

Fairfield has had success against Manhattan as they beat the Jaspers both on the road and at home. Fairfield played their best defense of the season against Manhattan as they limited the Jaspers to 26 points, which tied the fewest points scored by a Division 1 opponent in Fairfield women’s basketball history.

Niagara was successful against Fairfield this season, as they won both outings. Of these two games, one was a real nail biter as Niagara escaped with a two-point win at Alumni Hall earlier this season.

The Stags have the scouting report ready for each team and will be ready to perform with extra motivation to advance further into the tournament. The Stags are set to play on Friday, March 6, at 9:30 p.m. in the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.

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-- Senior | Sports Editor Emeritus-- English: Journalism

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