FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The Canisius women’s basketball team rallied from a 19-point first-half deficit, tying the game with three minutes left, but couldn’t complete the comeback as the Golden Griffins lost 63-57 to the Fairfield Stags at Alumni Hall on Friday night.
Senior Jen Morabito led Canisius with 16 points while sophomore Crystal Porter had a career-high 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting. The Griffs shot 46 percent on the day, including 54 percent in the second half.
“We have to find a way to come out of the locker room with the intensity and energy that we saw for the final 30 minutes of the game,” Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. “We got aggressive on the offensive end and really guarded on the defensive side.
“That comeback was really gutsy, and I’m proud of that, but we need to have that from the start and find a way to minimize the damage on our opponent’s runs.”
Fairfield built a 19-point lead midway through the first half, breaking the game open with a 23-3 run. The Stags scored 23 points on just 10 possessions as Fairfield made 10 of its first 13 shots to go up 27-8.
Canisius (7-12, 3-7 MAAC) chipped away at the lead, as the Griffs were aggressive in driving to the basket and also switched to a zone to take the Stags out of their rhythm. The Griffs held Fairfield (11-7, 6-3 MAAC) scoreless for nearly four minutes, making it 29-16 after a jumper from Hoohuli. Fairfield extended the lead to 16 points before Canisius scored the final seven points of the half to trail by the nine at the break.
The Griffs carried over that momentum to the second half, with Porter taking over on the offensive end for Canisius. Porter scored eight straight points and had 13 of her 15 points in the second half. The sophomore converted a layup with just over 12 minutes left to make it 44-39.
Canisius had a number of opportunities during the next seven minutes to cut the deficit to under five points but didn’t get there until two free throws from Morabito made it 52-48 with five minutes left. A jumper from the free-throw line by Porter followed by a pull-up jumper from Hoohuli tied the game with 3:18 left.
The Stags scored on their next two possessions, but a layup from redshirt junior Courtney VandeBovenkamp made it 56-54 with 1:04 left. Alexys Vazquez was able to get free on the right wing and drained a 3-pointer to push the Fairfield lead to five with 44 seconds remaining. Canisius cut the deficit to two points with 13 seconds left but Vazquez drained four free throws to put the game away.
Vazquez led all players with 19 points, making five 3-pointers. Katie Cizynski had 16 points while Kristin Schatzlein scored 13 points for the Stags.
Canisius wraps up its weekend road trip at Siena College on Sunday afternoon, with tipoff in Loudonville set for 2 p.m. The game will be televised live on Time Warner Sports Channel across New York State.
Notes: Fairfield has now won the last nine meetings in the series… Morabito scored in double figures for the sixth time this season and 31st time in her career… Hoohuli saw her career-long streak of consecutive games in double figures end at five, but she made a 3-pointer for the 18th time this season… Canisius shot over 40 percent for the ninth time… The eight turnovers were the second-fewest for the Griffs this season… Canisius scored a season-high 36 points in the paint.