For the fifth time in the last seven years, the Fairfield University women’s basketball team will play in a national postseason tournament. The Stags received a bid to participate in the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) for the fourth-time in program history. The four WBI selections are tied with Northern Kentucky for the most of any school in the country since the WBI was founded in 2010.
The Stags’ version of March Madness starts on the road on Thursday at 7:00 pm when they travel to the RAC Arena to take on the University of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers.
“We are all really excited,” Head Coach Joe Frager said. “The opportunity to be selected to play in a national postseason tournament is an honor. It’s what all teams strive for. We appreciate the opportunity.”
Fairfield will bring a 16-14 record into the seventh all-time WBI, and will be making their first appearance in the tournament since 2014. The Stags were part of the inaugural WBI in 2010 and made history in their first appearance, defeating the Towson Tigers for their first-ever national postseason victory.
The Stags doubled their success in 2014, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament, before losing to eventual champion UIC. It was the first-time ever that the Stags have won multiple postseason games in the same tournament. In each of their four seasons in the tournament, the Stags have advanced to the Second Round which includes their semifinals appearance in 2014.
“The first step is to be selected and you always want to put on a good showing,” coach Frager said. “It does two things: It extends the careers of your seniors, which is always a great thing, and you can use it to build up to next year. It gives us the opportunity to finish the year on a high note. Our objective is to take this as far as we can.”
The University of Maryland Baltimore County Golden Retrievers make their debut in the WBI and their first postseason appearance since the 2011 WNIT.
UMBC was also upset in their quarterfinal tournament game, as 14-16 #5 Binghamton defeated 17-13 #4 UMBC. The team is led by a junior duo Taylor McCarley and Pandora Wilson who combined for 29.2 points out of the team’s 58.1 points per game, which was fifth in the America East. McCarley was named to the All-America-East First Team and All-Defensive Team, while Wilson received Second Team honors.
The Stags have made their mark in the national postseason under Coach Frager, who will be on the postseason sidelines for the fifth time in the last seven years with the Stags. Over that span, only one MAAC program has more postseasons than the Stags (Marist). The four WBI appearances are now tied with Northern Kentucky for the most of any school in the country, one more than McNeese State and College of Charleston.