On Saturday, March 3 the Fairfield University Women’s Basketball team’s season came to an unfortunate end when they were defeated by Rider 71-64. The loss came in the quarterfinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament against the fifth seeded Rider Broncs who would go on to hit 30 of their 32 free throw attempts, proving to be the decisive blow to the Stag’s loss.
The first quarter of play was a back and forth effort for both teams as they were exchanging buckets early on. For the Stags, Sam Kramer ‘20 scored seven of Fairfield’s first nine points in the quarter to start the game. Rider would continue to hold the lead, as they would close out the quarter with a 16-12 advantage.
The second quarter would see the Stags make a valiant comeback. Down by four to start the quarter, Fairfield would tie the game at 16 off two consecutive layups coming off the hands of Macey Hollenshead ‘18 and Samantha Cooper ‘18. With less than six minutes remaining in the quarter, Cooper would go on to score seven consecutive points for the Stags to give them a seven point lead at 23-16.
Unfortunately for the Stags, the Broncs would answer back with a run of their own going on an 8-0 scoring run to take the slim 24-23 advantage with two minutes remaining in the quarter. Rider would go on to close the quarter leading 26-25.
Coming out of halftime, Rider would dominate on both offense and defense. Just five minutes into the quarter, Rider would attain their first double digit lead of the game as they lead 41-31 over the Stags. Fairfield battled to get back into the game but Rider’s offense was too much for the Stags in the third quarter as they would increase their lead as high 17. The Stags would close the deficit down to 13 as they headed into the final quarter of play trailing 52-39.
Trailing for the majority of the fourth quarter, Fairfield would battle back and cut the lead down to just five on two separate occasions. Kendra Landy ‘19 knocked down a couple of free throws with two and a half minutes remaining in the game. Rider would increase their lead once again to nine, before another Stag rally would cut the deficit to five after a converted layup by Landy with less than 30 second remaining in the game.
Rider would go on to close out the game leading by seven to pick up the 71-64 victory to advance to the semifinals of the MAAC Tournament.
In her final game as a Stag, Cooper recorded her final double-double with game-highs in points and rebounds as she finished with 18 points and 11 boards. Casey Foley ‘19 finished the game with 12 points while Kramer added 10 in the game. Hollenshead also recorded a season high five assists in her final game in the red and white.
With the loss, the Stags finished the season with a 13-17 overall record, going 10-8 in conference play. This is Fairfield’s 11th consecutive winning season in the conference under head coach Joe Frager. The Stags will look to regroup during the off-season and bounce back with a strong 2018-19 campaign.