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Fairfield eliminates Niagara from 2019 MAAC women's basketball tournament

ALBANY — Jai Moore scored 25 points but the Niagara women's basketball team lost a fourth-quarter lead in a 74-69 loss to Fairfield, in a first-round MAAC women's basketball tournament game Thursday at the Times Union Center.

The eighth-seeded Purple Eagles (12-19) led the ninth-seeded Stags 58-57 with 6:20 left in the fourth quarter, as Adila Gathers' layup gave the the Purple Eagles their first lead of the game.  Moore scored four points to put the Eagles ahead at 62-61 on a pair of free throws and a layup with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth, but Casey Foley's 3-pointer with 4:04 left gave the lead back to the Stags (11-19), who led by as many as six points in the final four minutes.

The Stags led the Purple Eagles 27-14 after the first quarter, took a 10-point lead with four minutes left in the first half at 36-26, then led 44-33 at the half.

Gathers scored 12 points for the Purple Eagles, while Maggie McIntyre added 11 and Emerald Ekpiteta 10.

Lou Lopez-Senechal led the Stags with 20 points, one of four Fairfield players to score in double figures. Foley added 17 points, Katie Armstrong 16 and Sam Kramer 10. Khadidiatou Diouf had 10 rebounds for the Stags, who outrebounded the Purple Eagles 39-26.

Poor free-throw shooting down the stretch also plagued the Purple Eagles; Niagara was 13-for-25 on free throws, including 4 for 10 in the fourth quarter.

Niagara ended the season on a six-game losing streak.

Fairfield will face top-seeded Quinnipiac (23-6) in a MAAC quarterfinal at 1 p.m. Friday at the Times Union Center. Quinnipiac is the two-time defending MAAC women's champion.

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