The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference season tips off for women's basketball this afternoon with five games, including Canisius hosting Fairfield in the Koessler Center.
The Golden Griffins ended the non-conference season with a 4-7 mark and have two wins in their last three games, including a 10-point win over UMES last week. The Griffs have been learning on the job this season with four freshmen making an impact already. In fact, for the first time in league history, the Griffs have had four different freshmen earn MAAC Rookie of the Week status -- Courtney VandeBovenkamp, Jen Morabito, Jen Lennox and Jamie Ruttle.
Morabito and Ruttle are projected starters today. Morabito has averaged 17.8 points in the last four games while Ruttle has averaged 8.9 points over the last eight.
Fairfield went 7-3 in non-conference play for the third best record in the MAAC. The Stags have won three in a row and are led by sophomore guard Katelyn Linney who is averaging 12.3 pionts.
Both teams are averaging offense in the 50s while Fairifeld's defense is stingy, allowing just 47.8 points per game. Expect a low-scoring affair.
Check back for updates throughout the game.
Fairfield 60, Canisius 51. The Griffs tried to make a game of it late in the game, but the Stags hit their free throws and the Griffs failed to get any points.
2:57 p.m.: Tip off!
17:37 left: Fairfield calls timeout as the Griffs open up the second half on a 7-2 run, capped by a three-pointer from Morabito. The Stags lead is now just two, 31-29.
15:38 left: Fairfield leads, 36-31. Canisius has yet to lead in the game, but has much more energy on both ends of the floor this half.
11:24 left: Fairfield leads, 40-38. Canisius has tied the game twice, 36-36 and 38-38. The question for the next 11 or so minutes -- did the Griffs use up all their energy to get back into the game?
7:08 left: Fairfield leads, 46-40. The Griffs had chances to tie or take the lead, but fumbled with missed shots and turnovers. The Stags are gathering up offensive rebounds and getting extra looks at the basket, and hold possessions, taking time away from Canisius to not only score but to create momentum.
3:56 left: Fairfield leads, 48-40 and the Stags feel in control of the game. The Griffs can't seem to get anything consistent on offense.
Fairfield leads, 29-22, but Canisius gained some momentum at the end of the half thanks to a banked three-pointer from Morabito and a defensive stop in the final 20 seconds.
Jamie Ruttle has 12 points for the Griffs while Linney has 12 for Fairfield. While Canisius has more total rebounds that the Stags, Fairfield has seven offensive rebounds and eight second-chance points. The Griffs have 11 turnovers while Fairfield has just three.
2:04 p.m.: Tip-off!
13:44 left: Fairfield leads, 8-4. On its first four possessions, Canisius turned the ball over while Fairfield is crashing the offensive glass hard. Linney has a pair of three-pointers for the Stags. At the table to check in during the official timeout was Canisius guard Ashley Durham, who has missed the last five games with a knee injury.
11:16 left: Fairfield leads, 10-6. Durham looks good in her first action in nearly a month, despite being 0-for-2 from the field. Durham, a sophomore point guard, last played on Dec. 4 in a loss to Duquesne. She had started the first game of the seasons before the injury.
7:37 left: Fairfield leads, 18-11. Linney has four three-pointers for 12 points and the Stags know how to move the ball to get her open shots. Canisius is having problems rebounding on both ends as the Griffs are tending to over-run the ball, getting out of position instead of getting into position.
3:37 left: Fairfield leads, 22-13. The Stags led by as many as 11, 22-11, thanks to a 7-0 run. The Griffs are having trouble with the offense, throwing the ball around and failing to get offensive rebounds for second looks at the basket.
--- Amy Moritz