By John Cirillo
The Fairfield University (16-10, 11-6 MAAC) women’s basketball team has had its rivals “Behind the Eight Ball” for the past month, and extended its winning streak to eight in a row with a convincing 71-51 road victory at Siena on Wednesday night. Head coach Joe Frager’s Stags have won 10 of their last 11.
Kristin Schatzlein (12 ppg) led all scorers with a career-high 26 points on 9-for-13 shooting, and also added a career-best five steals and dished out four assists.
Samantha Cooper recorded her seventh career double-double with 14 points and 12 boards. The Stags are now 6-1 when she records a double-double. “Coop” is Fairfield’s “Chairman of the Boards” with 8 rpg.
Kelsey Carey is the Stags top scorer this season with 12.4 ppg, followed by “Schatz” and then Casey Smith with 11.4 ppg.
Fairfield secured its ninth-straight MAAC winning season under coach Frager, who remains the only conference coach in history to have nine consecutive winning conference records to begin a career.
Fairfield will face its sternest stretch of the season in the next two weeks, squaring off against the MAAC’s three premier teams that are tightly bunched in the standings – Marist, Iona and Quinnipiac – all on the road to wrap up the regular season campaign.
The trio of critical contests starts on Sunday afternoon (February 21) at third place Marist (13-13, 12-4 MAAC), with a 2:00 PM matinee tip-off.
The current eight-game winning streak for Fairfield is the longest for the program since the 2009-10 season, when they won nine-straight en route to a MAAC Finals appearance.
The Stags have a little more work to do to have their winning streak appear in the record books. A pair of 10-game winning streaks are tie for third all-time. The last time they did this was in 2000-01. The varsity record is 16-straight wins set in 1974-75, while the Division-I record is at 14-straight in 1990-91. The win streak is tied for the 21st nationally, with South Dakota State, Duquesne, UNC Asheville, and Little Rock also picking up seven-straight victories.
The Stags will try to even the season’s series against Marist, having lost at home on December 6, 72-57, to the Red Foxes at Alumni Hall.