Stags Ready For Turkey Tip-off at Brown on Thanksgiving Weekend
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Fairfield University Women's Basketball team will participate in the first of two in-season tournaments on the schedule when they travel to Providence, R.I., to take part in the Turkey Tip-off at Brown University. The Stags will play three games in three days, starting with a contest against the host school Brown on Friday at 4pm. Aside from Brown and the Stags, the tournament will also include Bucknell and UMass. The Stags will face the Bison on Saturday at 4pm and the Minutewomen on Sunday at 3pm. The Stags hold a 6-1 all-time record against Brown, with their last meeting coming in 2012. However, the Stags will be playing the other schools for the first time in over 20 years, not having faced UMass since 1997 and winning their only contest against Bucknell in 1994. Fairfield is coming off their first loss of the season, a 48-35 decision to Xavier. Fairfield tallied season lows in several offensive categories, shooting only 22 percent from the floor and .059 percent from deep (1-for-17). The offensive struggle started in the first quarter when Fairfield connected on just one of their 14 shots, including misfiring on their first nine attempts of the game. As much as their offense struggled, the defense of the Stags kept them within striking distance. Fairfield forced 22 turnovers against the Big East squad, tallying 16 steals. The 16 steals was the most by a Fairfield team since Feb. 2, 2007 in a game at Niagara. It also represented the second most steals in a game in the Joe Frager era. Fairfield has now limited their opponents to 43.7 points per game, the lowest number in the conference and the sixth best in the nation. Fairfield also made history in their setback, by hitting all 12 of their free throw attempts. It marks the first time in program history that the Stags have hit all of their free throw in back-to-back games when they have attempted 10 or more shots. For the season, the Stags have made 27-straight free throws, raising their season average to .889, the second best number in the NCAA. The Brown Bears have already played five games in their 2018-19 season, entering the Thanksgiving tournament with a 3-2 overall record. The Bears have finished with a winning non-conference record in three-straight seasons including a 12-1 non-league mark last year. Brown has a veteran roster returning this season which includes 86 percent of their scoring and 76 percent of it's rebounding. Brown was picked to finish fifth in the Ivy League Preseason Poll. Two players have already neared 100 points scored through the first five games with Justine Gaziano (19.8 PPG) and shooter Shayna Mehta (19.6) leading the way. The Bucknell Bison were ranked eighth in the Mid-Major Top-25 poll after their 2-0 start and will enter the weekend 2-2 after losses to No. 18 Syracuse and Drexel. Bucknell was chosen as the Preseason Patriot League favorites as they return four starters and three All-Conference players from a squad that won 22 games last season en-route to a WNIT bid. Kaitlyn Slagus is averaging nearly a double-double with 10.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Kate Walker, who made the Patriot League First Team last season chips in 9.0 points and is second on the team with 2.5 assists per outing. The Minutewomen won two of their first three games to open the season with victories over Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut State. UMass was picked to finish ninth in the A-10 Preseason Poll with junior guard Hailey Leidel being chosen to the Preseason Second Team. Leidel set a program record with 83 3-pointers made during her sophomore season and scored 930 points in her first 60 career outings. Leidel is one of three players to average double figures with sophomore Bre Hampton-Bey pacing the team with 13.3 points per game. The Stags will next play their first Alumni Hall game of the slate when they welcome William and Mary on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2pm.