Griffs fall in overtime to Fairfield on winless road trip
By: Adam Gorski
It seemed like the Canisius women’s basketball team had just pulled off the upset of the MAAC season, but mere tenths of a second reversed their fortunes for the worse.
An 11–0 run in overtime propelled Fairfield to a 63–54 win over the Griffs on Saturday at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn.
Before the overtime period began, with the game tied at 52 apiece, Canisius (3–19, 1–12) had a chance to win the game with .6 seconds remaining on the clock and the Griffs taking the ball out of bounds. After a pick play allowed Rhay Porter to shake her defender and roll to the basket, Erika Joseph’s inbound pass found the freshman under the basket and her layup dropped — but just after the buzzer had sounded.
Prior to that, a low-scoring first half saw the Griffs ahead 22–20 at the break after holding the Stags (15–6, 12–1) to just 26.8% shooting from the field. Fairfield’s 20 halftime points were tied for their fewest in a first half all season.
The MAAC-leading Stags began to take control early in the third quarter with a 9–0 run out of halftime that put them up 29–22 a couple minutes into the frame, a lead they would cling to through much of the fourth quarter.
Trailing 48–40 with just under five minutes to play, the Griffs did not go away. A 12–3 run over the next four minutes placed Canisius in solid position to pull the upset, as a Joseph layup with 44 seconds to play put her side ahead 52–51.
After Porter’s waved off layup, Shaunae Brown’s jumper opened the scoring in overtime, but it ended being the only points Canisius could muster in the frame. Brown led all scorers with 15 points, while the Stags’ Callie Cavanaugh had 14 to lead her team.
Considering the result from the Griffs’ first matchup with Fairfield back on Jan. 15, a 73–37 loss at home, the performance on Saturday was nothing short of a phenomenal effort.
"Incredibly proud of the efforts our team gave,” Canisius head coach Sahar Nusseibeh told GoGriffs.com. “We have a lot of fighters on this team. We did so many good things today. To go from the score of our first game versus Fairfield just three weeks ago to today, we've grown in so many ways.”
Prior to Saturday’s Fairfield game, the Griffs kicked off their first of three games in five days at Iona, where they fell to the Gaels 66–55 on Feb. 3.
A Brown 3-pointer gave the Griffs a 22–21 lead just over midway through the second quarter, but the Gaels (7–10, 5–7) swiftly regained the lead and never relinquished it back. Freshman Athina Lexa had 14 points to lead Canisius, while Ketsia Athias had 24 to lead all scorers for Iona.
To conclude the road trip, the Griffs were walloped by Quinnipiac 76–55 on Monday afternoon.
Canisius shot just 31% from the field on the day and found themselves down by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter. A 15–2 Bobcats (14–8, 9–4) run to end the first quarter blew the game open early, and the Griffs were never in it the rest of the way.
Brown led her side in scoring with 14 points, while Mikala Morris had 24 to pace Quinnipiac.
"It was a tough game today versus a very aggressive Quinnipiac team,” Nusseibeh told GoGriffs.com. “They came out ready to go, and unfortunately it took us a couple quarters to get going. We need to clean up the ‘how’ of what we do. We need to commit to it with consistent action.”
Next up, the Griffs faceoff with Marist at home on Saturday for a 1 p.m. tip before traveling to Manhattan for a showdown with the Jaspers on Thursday at 7 p.m.