The Fairfield University women’s basketball team headed into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with an overall record of 11-4 and 9-3 in conference play, putting them at fifth spot in the MAAC and a comfortable four seed in the MAAC tournament.
The Stags received a first round bye and faced the fifth seed Manhattan College in an unfamiliar matchup, as the Stags and Jaspers did not play against each other in the regular season.
The Stags and Jaspers met for the eleventh time in the MAAC Tournament and the first time since the early 2000s. The Stags held an even 5-5 record against the Jaspers in the tournament, meaning this was anyone’s game for the taking.
The start of the game worked in favor of the Stags, as they held the Jaspers to 14 points in the fourth half, and allowed them to only score 40 points in the entire game. This has been an identity all year for the Stags, who rank second in defensive efficiency in the conference.
Along with the defense pressure, the team’s scoring leader Lou Lopez-Senechal ‘22, had a big-time performance with 21 points and two steals, leading the Stags to the Semi-Final against the number one seed, the Marist College Red Foxes.
The women’s team was two games away from winning their fourth MAAC Championship and the program’s first National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament bid since 2000. They first needed to get past the top seed Red Foxes, who was a team that had only lost three games all year.
The Semi-Final game was much different than the Quarter-Final the night before, as the Stags found themselves quickly down in the beginning of the game and did not gain a lead once throughout.
The Red Foxes, who are number one in offensive and defensive efficiency in the MAAC, punished the Stags on offensive and suffocated them on defense. This combination was too much for the Lady Stags to handle, and they were defeated 50-66 in a tough battle of two top teams in the conference.
Although the Stags will not make an appearance in the NCAA Tournament, they still have a lot of positives that came out of this season. They finished with a solid record overall of 11-5 and were one of the harder teams to beat in the conference.
In terms of individual awards, Lopez-Senechal and Katie Armstrong ‘21 were both put on All-MAAC squads.
Lopez-Senechal was named to the All-MAAC first team, as she was a top scorer in the conference and was the only unanimous player chosen to the squad. The France native also was second in (field goal and three point percentage), ensuring the Stags will have a star playing for them in next year’s season.
Armstrong ‘21, who is a graduate student, was named to the All-MAAC second team after a solid campaign and season. Armstrong ‘21 was a force to be reckoned with in the post, averaging 10.6 points and 6.6 rebounds, dominating her opponents inside. This was her final year as a Stag, and her contribution to both ends will be deeply missed.
Additionally, Andrea Hernangomez ‘22 was named MAAC Sixth Player of the Year, becoming the second Stag of all-time to win the award.