The women’s basketball team fell to Canisius, 74-64, on Sunday during the final game of the season in Alumni Hall.
The opening segment of the game made it seem as though the Stags would roll right over the Golden Griffins.
With 12:08 left in the first half, Fairfield led 18-4 and had all the momentum. Yet, Canisius was able to battle back despite the 24-12 Fairfield lead. The Griffs went on a 15-4 run to cut the lead to one with two minutes left.
The Stags were able to stretch their lead back to five with a little over a minute left. Neither team could hit a basket for the rest of the half until the final seconds.
With 11.0 on the clock, the Stags inbounded the ball, but sophomore guard Megan Caskin was called for traveling with 5.3 left, giving Canisius one last chance.
The Griffs capitalized on it, as freshman guard Brittane Russell banked a three pointer as time expired, forcing the Stags to go into the half with only a two-point lead, 32-30.
For the half, the Stags limited Canisius to 35.7 percent shooting while shooting 56.5 percent themselves. They also out-rebounded the Griffs 17-13. Sophomore Baendu Lowenthal was perfect from the field, going six of six for 12 points.
However, the second half would be much worse for the Stags.
Foul trouble limited many of Fairfield’s players and Canisius was in the bonus with 11:36 left in the second half.
Lowenthal, Stephanie Geehan ‘10, and Meka Werts ‘08 each had four fouls and Caskin fouled out at the end of the game.
Head coach Dianne Nolan recognized that the foul trouble affected the Stags' play.
“We had certain players in foul trouble like Megan and B. Megan runs the plays for us and B is one of our leading scorers, we have to play a little differently,” she said.
During the second half, the Stags also slipped on defense. Fairfield allowed Canisius to shoot 53.8 percent from the field and sent the Griffs to the line 19 times, where they hit 14.
“Our defense can only hold for so long,” said Nolan. “We couldn’t score when we needed to.”
However, Werts scored a team-high 18 points along with Lowenthal, who also put in 18. No other Stag reached double figures.
“Our offense comes from our defense. We know what we need to do to win,” said Werts.
“We always like playing in front of all the fans here. We love playing here, but I wish we could have given our fans a W,” she said.
A strong effort by the Stags' frontcourt in the first half was limited in the second half, as Fairfield ended up being out-rebounded 32-30 for the game.
Geehan was the Stags' leading rebounder, pulling down nine, while also swatting away four shots, providing a low post presence.
Fairfield falls to 13-12 overall and 9-5 in the MAAC, while Canisius improves to 13-12 and 5-9 in the MAAC.
MAAC games are increasingly important as the Stags battle for the second spot in the conference. Both Iona and Loyola won to improve to 10-4 in the MAAC, dropping the Stags one game behind both the Greyhounds and the Gaels for second place.
The standings make Fairfield’s next game even more important. The Stags play Iona at the Arena at Harbor Yard. A win would put the Stags in good position to lock up the number two seed in the MAAC.