The Fairfield University women’s basketball team (6-0) played Manhattan College (4-4) this past Thursday, Jan. 23, and rest assured– they brought the heat. They beat Manhattan 87-47 in an exciting and monumental game. Not only did they blow the competition out of the water, but the women’s basketball team made history by breaking the Fairfield record for highest shooting percentage in a game where they shot almost 64 percent, excluding free throws. The Stags have already started off their season strong, as they’re now 6-0 in their conference, putting them second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference league standings. Manhattan is currently 4-3 in their MAAC games.
Starters included Sam Kramer ‘20, Katie Armstrong ‘20, Callie Cavanaugh ‘21, Lou Lopez-Senechal ‘22 and Rachel Hakes ‘22. The game kicked off well, with Armstrong winning the tip off and sending it straight to Hakes. Rather quickly, Fairfield started showing off some of their best shooters. Kramer and Armstrong had countless open three-pointers throughout the entire game, Kramer with four while Armstrong with five. Armstrong can shoot very accurately with both hands, making her one to watch. Fans saw both Andrea Hernangomez ‘22 and graduate student Kendra Landy make it into the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter, the Stags were up 22-13.
This team had great momentum and they had some fantastic plays down low, specifically one by Armstrong and Hernangomez to kick off the second quarter. The Stags did a great job putting pressure on Manhattan which lead to countless travels by the Jaspers and an abundance of interceptions on Fairfield’s part. Manhattan started pressuring the Stags back with a full court press, but it lead to a quick breakaway for Hakes. Landy, who excels at seeing the bigger picture on the court, closed out the first half with an assist down low to Hernangomez. The half concluded in favor of Fairfield, 44-25.
The Stags started out the second half with a bang when Armstrong and Kramer netted back-to-back-to-back three-pointers. Armstrong ended up totaling 27 points on Thursday night’s game. Lopez-Senechal had a fantastic block to keep Fairfield’s defense on lock. Fairfield continued to put pressure on Manhattan and closed the third quarter 66-37. By the final quarter, morale and energy were high in Alumni Hall. Each player on the team saw the court, making for a great opportunity for everyone. The team ran an inbound play for Sam Lewis ‘21, leading her to bank yet another three-pointer for the Stags. By the end of the game, the Stags were 12 for 18 on three-pointers. The game ended with a final score of 87-47 and the Stags proudly remain undefeated.
When asked about Armstrong’s 27 points that helped lead to a new school record, she said, “It was really special to be part of a record breaking night like last night! We have been working so hard in practice and I’m glad the shooting was able to translate to the game for everyone.” One thing that is apparent for this team is that they are communicating efficiently on and off the court. Armstrong could attest to that, and said, “The connection we have is really great, we have such a close group of girls. Everyone is so supportive of one another and that’s just one of the intangibles that help us succeed on the court. I love being a part of something so special, and I love having this amazing group of girls by my side.” This connection is obvious, and fans could feel the energy from the court all the way in the stands.
When asked what she thinks women’s basketball at Fairfield is, Armstrong confidently explained, “Fairfield basketball is unselfish, it’s diving on the ground for a loose ball, and that’s what makes this team so special.” The team feels that they’re more than just a team, they are a family. They believe part of that is what has been leading them to their victories.
While the team is full of talented players and coaches, the unity and sense of togetherness brings an unmatchable energy in their style of play. With every rebound, steal and play, they bring more and more fire to the court. The Fairfield University women’s basketball team next plays at home on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7:00 p.m. against Marist College (7-1).