The Canisius women’s basketball team scored 10 of the final 11 points in overtime to defeat Fairfield University 52-45 in the Koessler Athletic Center on Friday night. The Golden Griffins, who ended the Stags’ seven-game winning streak, win for the third time in four games and improve to 12-16 overall and 8-11 in the MAAC.
Senior Jamie Ruttle led the Griffs with 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and three blocks in a season-high 34 minutes. Junior Kayla Hoohuli scored 16 points, grabbed five rebounds and had two steals in a career-high 43 minutes.
"We played very well defenisvely tonight and battled a good Fairfield team," Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. "They made a bunch of runs, and we made baskets when we needed them. I'm proud of the way we grinded when that game got close and didn't fold after the tough end to regulation."
Both teams struggled from the floor in the first half, with Canisius using an 8-0 run to take a 14-6 lead with just under five minutes left in the half. The Griffs would take a 23-12 lead into the locker room on a last-second layup from redshirt junior Courtney VandeBovenkamp. The 12 points allowed by Canisius in the first half were the fewest scored by an opponent this season in the opening 20 minutes.
Fairfield (19-9, 14-5 MAAC) scored the first seven points of the second half to cut the Griffs’ lead to 23-19, but a 3-pointer from Ruttle and a three-point play from sophomore Crystal Porter extended the lead back to double digits. The Stags chipped away at the lead and made it 31-31 on a 3-pointer from Kristin Schatzlein.
The Griffs wouldn’t relinquish the lead, using an eight-point run during the next six minutes. That run included a three-point play from Ruttle, a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired from Hoohuli and a layup from VandeBovenkamp, to make it 41-33 with 2:39 left. Fairfield scored the next seven points to make it a one-point game with 34 seconds left. Hoohuli split two free throws to push it to 42-40, and the Griffs would get a defensive stop. Porter missed the front end, and Felicia DaCruz came down and scored a layup with 4.1 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
Fairfield got a layup from Brittany Obi-Tabot on the first possession of overtime to take its first lead since the first basket of the game. Canisius forced turnovers on the next two Fairfield possessions and tied the game on a layup from Ruttle with 2:40 left. That sparked an 8-0 run as Hoohuli drained a 3-pointer and Ruttle got a friendly roll on another three-point play to put Canisius up 50-44 with 28 seconds left. Senior Jen Morabito drained two free throws with 13 seconds left to put the game away.
Katie Cizynski led Fairfield with 14 points and nine rebounds while Schatzlein had 11 points, making three 3-pointers. Canisius forced Alexys Vazquez into 0-for-8 from behind the arc.
Canisius concludes the regular season on Sunday, against Rider University. Tipoff is set for 2:05 p.m. with Senior Day activities set for 1:55 p.m.
Notes: Canisius snapped a nine-game losing streak to Fairfield, defeating the Stags for the first time since the semifinals of the 2009 MAAC Championship… The Griffs went to overtime for the first time this season… Canisius won in overtime for the first time since Feb. 10, 2012, at Rider… Sophomore Tiahana Mills also set a career high with 41 minutes played… Ruttle had the 20th game of her career with 15 or more points while Hoohuli accomplished the feat for the 12th time… The Griffs only trailed for 4:58 of the game… Porter has seven rebounds in back-to-back games and for the eighth time this season… Canisius improved to 41-4 under Zeh when holding its opponent to fewer than 50 points.