From left to right: Lauren Tucker, Tara Flaherty, Kendra Hussey, and Stephanie Geehan were honored during Senior Day at Alumni Hall on Saturday. (Peter Caty/The Mirror)

A little over two weeks ago, the women’s basketball team was mired in ninth place in the MAAC. Five straight wins later, including two over Marist and Iona, the first and second place teams in the conference respectively, the Stags sit tied for third place. After the win streak, Fairfield is currently 15-12 overall and 9-7 in the MAAC.

Senior Stephanie Geehan has been a big reason for the Stags success this season, and none more so than this week in which all four seniors were honored.

Geehan was named the MAAC Player of the Week and the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight National Player of the Week. Geehan began the week with a 32-point, 15-rebound effort in a 51-50 win at Siena (9-16 overall, 7-9 MAAC) on Monday night. She then blocked the Saints final shot of the game, with two seconds remaining, to secure the victory.

On Friday night, Geehan tallied 16 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots in the team’s 72-59 win over Iona (16-11, 12-4) after the senior class was honored. Geehan wrapped up the week with a 22-point, 12-rebound double-double against Rider (4-23, 2-14) during which she scored her 1,000th point of her career, becoming only the 23rd player in program history to do so. She is also 24 rebounds shy of becoming only the fourth player in program history to record 1,000 career points and rebounds along with approaching the career blocks record as well.

“Coach says that these games can be one of two things,” said Geehan. “Either it gives you a boost, or you get distracted. We used it as motivation, especially since we haven’t beat Iona since we’ve been here.”

The win against Iona was Fairfield’s first since Jan. 2005, making the win the first for the senior class against the Gaels. Two seasons ago, Iona handed Fairfield three of its nine losses during Frager’s first season.


“It was in the back of our minds,” said Geehan. “We didn’t want to graduate without beating them.”

The win against Iona was even more impressive considering that sophomore starting point guard Desiree Pina was limited by foul trouble and played only 26 minutes. She typically plays nearly the full 40 minutes because Fairfield is already so thin at guard. Freshman Katelyn Linney shifted over to handle the ball during Pina’s time on the bench.

“I thought [our guards] did a nice job,” said Frager. “Aside from a few errors, I thought they handled well.”

Pina returned with a little over four minutes remaining and subsequently nailed a jumper and followed that by hitting all eight of her free throws to ice the game. Linney also played well, tying her career high with five assists.

“This was a huge win,” said Frager. “Iona is a good team, one of the deepest and most talented in the league. We overcame adversity, especially considering our guard spot is thin. I thought we played with poise. Our D was more solid, our halfcourt defense was better. We tried to make Iona work.

Another bright spot for the Stags has been the emergence of sophomore Taryn Johnson. Johnson scored a career-high 20 points in the win against Iona and followed it with 11 points against Rider in 28 minutes after picking up four fouls. She was one of four Stags to finish in double-digits in scoring in the win over the Broncos, helping lead the balanced attack.

“Taryn’s been great for us,” said Geehan.

Head coach Joe Frager also recognized the impact of the four seniors, Geehan, Tara Flaherty, Kendra Hussey and Lauren Tucker, despite the injuries which have beset them this season. Hussey is out for the season after having neck surgery in January, Tucker saw the court for the first time since Jan. 18 against Rider after herniating a disk in her back and Flaherty has been limited by an ankle injury for most of the season.

Flaherty, Hussey and Geehan are also the last of former head coach Dianne Nolan’s recruits, who Frager replaced in 2007. Tucker was a junior college transfer from Shelton State Community College. Frager gave the women credit for accepting him as coach after Nolan left.

“(They’ve meant) A tremendous amount. Not just on the court but off it too,” said Frager. “Three of the four, I didn’t recruit, so I have to give Dianne Nolan all the credit.”

Fairfield closes the season out against Niagara (12-15, 9-7) and Canisius (10-17, 5-11), making the trek to Western N.Y. The Purple Eagles are one of two teams tied with the Stags for third place along with Manhattan. Fairfield has its two games to Manhattan and its one against Niagara. But riding a two-game win streak, the Stags will try to end the season with momentum heading into the MAAC Tournament.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.