Springfield, Mass. - The second-seeded Fairfield University women's basketball
team knocked off seventh-seeded Iona College, 61-45, in the quarterfinals of
the 2012 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Basketball Championships at
the MassMutual Center.
Fairfield (22-7) was powered by double-digit efforts by three Stags. Senior Taryn Johnson led the way with a game-high 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field. Junior Katelyn Linney tallied 11 points while junior Brittany MacFarlane posted 10 points and six rebounds. MacFarlane went 4-for-6 from the floor, including a 2-for-3 effort from three-point range.
Iona (13-18) outscored Fairfield, 7-1, in the opening minutes of the game. Johnson stopped the run with a pair of free throws and then pulled the Stags within 7-5 on a pull-up jumper in the lane at 15:24. Iona's Aleesha Powell returned the lead to five points after executing a three-point play but Fairfield continued to chip away.
Johnson gave the Stags its first lead of the day, 11-10, at 12:24 stuffing home a pass from Alexys Vazquez. Fairfield got on a roll, extending its lead to 19-12 on a three-pointer by MacFarlane at 7:42 which capped off a 10-2 run.
Iona used a 6-2 run of its own to cut the gap to three points, 21-18, on a bucket by Powell. Freshman Felicia DaCruz posted four unanswered points while Johnson netted her fifth field goal of the half to return Fairfield's lead to 27-18 with just under 1:30 to play. The Stags entered the break with a 29-22 lead.
Just under 2:30 into the second half, Fairfield surged out to a 37-24 advantage thanks in part to back-to-back three-pointers by MacFarlane and Linney. The Stags moved out to a 15 point lead, 45-30, after a jumper by MacFarlane at 12:50.
A three-pointer by senior Desiree Pina and a lay-up by Johnson extended the margin to 50-30 with 9:45 left to play. The Stags held Iona scoreless for seven minutes during their run. Damika Martinez ended the drought at 6:31 with a pair of free throws which made the score 54-32.
DaCruz, who played 15 crucial minutes with Pina on the bench in foul trouble in the first half, finished with four points and three assists. Vazquez had six rebounds, tied a career-high with four assists, and scored three points. Pina tallied six points.
The Stags shot 46.9 percent from the floor while holding the Gaels to 28.6 percent shooting. The Stags also hit 10 of their 12 free throws. Fairfield forced Iona to turn the ball of 20 times, scoring 21 points off turnovers.
Fairfield will face the winner of the No. 3 Manhattan/No.6 Siena contest in Saturday's MAAC Championship Semifinal at 9:30am at the MassMutual Center live on ESPN3.