Tight games and Zips on a Roll
Fairfield 68, UIC 60
Fairfield (3-8) held off UIC 68-60 Friday afternoon on the second day of the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic. The Stags managed to recover from an overtime loss the night before to Furman and keep UIC (2-8) at bay down the stretch 24 hours later.
Fairfield earned a 5-0 lead to start the game. They continued their momentum to earn a double-digit advantage halfway through the quarter, 14-4, after a jump shot from junior guard/forward Katie Armstrong.
The Stags entered the second period with a 21-7 lead. UIC was on a mission to catch up, outscoring the Stags 17-6 to get within three by the middle of the second quarter. Their efforts led to them outscoring the Stags 25-10 before the break. As a result, Fairfield went into halftime with just a slim 32-31 lead over the Flames.
UIC’s hopes to stage a comeback to overcome the Stags was dashed as Fairfield saw an increase in offensive production in the third quarter. They outscored the Flames 19-15.
The Stags entered the fourth quarter leading 50-47 and put up 18 points to UIC's 13 in the final period to take the game.
Freshman forward Lou Lopez-Senechal led Fairfield with a career-high 21 points plus five rebounds. Senior guard Casey Foley added 18 points along with four assists. Senior forward Khadidiatou “Dija” Diouf added 16 points and nine rebounds for a near double-double.
Freshman guard Jasmine Gaines was the only UIC player in double figures with 16.
Fairfield finishes the tournament 1-1. UIC plays Jackson State on Saturday at 11 a.m. PT.
Western Illinois 85, Furman 78
Western Illinois (4-9) also recovered from a defeat the previous today to come out with a win on Friday. WIU took down Furman, 85-78 in a hard-fought, intense battle during the second game of the day.
After the tip, WIU had an easier time getting on the scoreboard and led 7-4 before Furman (7-5) got comfortable. The Paladins made it a tie game after a three-pointer from freshman guard Jade Kirisome. However, WIU managed to come out of the quarter with a 15-13 lead.
The Paladins fell behind in the second quarter but not until the latter part of the period. Up until the last three and half minutes before the break, WIU could not get ahead by more than three points. But, in the last few minutes they went on a 15-8 run to head into halftime leading by double digits, 43-33.
Furman mounted a comeback in the third quarter outscoring WIU 29-22 so by the beginning of the fourth period the Paladins only trailed by three.
After starting the third quarter on a 7-4 run, Furman was in a dead heat with WIU at 69 all. The Paladins took the lead after a layup from senior forward Kaitlyn Duncan followed by free throws from sophomore forward Celena Taborn. The four-point lead lasted for a little over a minute before the game was tied again and WIU took over and closed out the contest on a run.
Junior guard Olivia Kaufmann led WIU with 26 points plus eight rebounds. She scored in double figures in both games of the tournament. Junior guard Avery Hamm came off the bench for 18 points. Senior guard Taylor Higgenbotham had a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds, another player with consecutive games of double-digit scoring. Junior guard Annabel Graettinger added 14 points.
Five Furman players scored in double figures paced by junior guard Taylor Petty who finished with 17 points and six rebounds. Taborn contributed 14 points and four rebounds while Kirisome added 13 points.
Both teams finished the tournament 1-1.
Akron 64, UTEP 57
In the last game of the day, Akron (8-2) and UTEP (3-9) played each other close in physical, defensive-minded matchup. Akron came out on top, 64-57, after holding off UTEP in the final stretch.
The Zips led early as UTEP nipped at their heels. Akron had a 12-6 lead at 4:52 but then UTEP began to catch up but not enough to overtake the Zips. Heading into the second quarter, Akron had a 14-10 lead.
While UTEP outscored Akron 19-16 in the second period it was not enough for the Miners to overtake their opponent.
Akron began to create some distance between themselves and UTEP early in the second quarter, amassing a 21-13 lead before UTEP could score again. The Miners finished the period on a 16-9 run to put them one point behind Akron. The Zips had a narrow 30-29 lead at halftime.
The second half included a few see-saw moments as the teams traded leads and the Miners gained the advantage with about three minutes left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter began with the teams tied at 45 points each. A crucial 6-0 run by the Zips in the fourth quarter sealed the game.
Senior guard Megan Sefcik led Akron with 17 points plus four rebounds while junior guard Shaunay Edmonds added 13 points. Junior forward Caitlin Vari was also in double figures with 10 points along with four rebounds.
Freshman Ariana Taylor was the only UTEP player in double figures. She came off the bench for 16 points, a career high for her.
Akron left the tournament 2-0 while the Miners finished 1-1.