Sunday, January 10, 2016

Saint Peter's 56, Fairfield 46: Ray Floriani's Tempo-Free Analysis

Saint Peter's brings the ball up against Fairfield in MAAC action. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

Jersey City, NJ ­- An important contest loomed especially for Fairfield. The Stags visited the Yanitelli Center to take on Saint Peter’s. Fairfield, many thought, could contend in the MAAC. They entered Yanitelli 1­-4, needing a win to get some momentum going. Saint Peter’s will take to the road for four straight after this. Pat Coyle’s club would love this one to get a little momentum of their own going.

First quarter: Neither team could find an early scoring groove. Saint Peter’s led 6­-2 four minutes in. Friday night after the Niagara game, head coach Pat Coyle remarked on how difficult it was to prepare for Fairfield. Early on, the Stag offense, with a variety of flex cuts, off-ball screens and back door cuts, displayed what the Saint Peter’s mentor alluded to. The shot chart yielded an oddity: Saint Peter’s had five field goals, but none in the paint. Fairfield, meanwhile, scored all three of their field goals in the lane.

End of first quarter: Saint Peter’s 10, Fairfield 8

Second quarter: As was the case Friday, points were not easy for Saint Peter’s to come by. Fairfield defended, communicated on defense, and on several occasions, Saint Peter’s was forced to settle for a less than ideal shot. Fairfield had a rough go on offense as well. Casey Smith, a six-foot junior, emerged as a tough matchup with her size and length. A classy gesture by Fairfield coach Joe Frager occurred later in the frame, as Saint Peter’s Hala Mostafa saved the ball to a teammate on offense and fell out of bounds by the Fairfield bench. In an instant Frager, helped Mostafa to her feet.

Halftime: Saint Peter’s 20, Fairfield 19

Possessions: Fairfield 31, Saint Peter’s 30

Offensive Efficiency: Fairfield 61, Saint Peter’s 67

Third quarter: Hala Mostafa buried a three at the 7:33 mark, increasing the Saint Peter’s lead to six. Neither team was really effective on offense. Fairfield's first half offensive efficiency was 61, Saint Peter’s was 67. The Peacocks, with a 7­-0 run over the first three minutes, were getting on track. Mostafa scored five points in this quarter, rebounded, and looked for teammates with a few assists and blocking shots. The 6­-1 senior was making her presence felt on both ends of the floor. Fairfield showed some full court pressure, which bothered Saint Peter’s for two possessions before they settled down.

End of third quarter: Saint Peter’s 37, Fairfield 25

Fourth quarter: Fairfield got the first field goal of the quarter on a Helena Orts inside move. The Stags needed to get off to a positive start this final quarter. Three three-pointers later, Fairfield pulled within five, and were surging with six minutes left. Going against a full court press, Saint Peter’s chooses to beat it with long passes and/or transition. Sajanna Bethea knocked down a trey with just under a minute to go, pushing the lead to nine. In effect, that was the dagger.

Final: Saint Peter’s 56, Fairfield 46

Possessions: 66

Offensive Efficiency: Fairfield 70, Saint Peter’s 85

Four Factors:
eFG Percentage: Fairfield 29, Saint Peter’s 51
Free Throw Rate: Fairfield 15, Saint Peter’s 30
Offensive Rebound Percentage: Fairfield 25, Saint Peter’s 14
Turnover Rate: Fairfield 12, Saint Peter’s 24

Leading Scorers and Effectiveness Factors:
Fairfield: ­ Casey Smith (13 points, EF 16)

Saint Peter’s: ­ Sajanna Bethea (16 points, EF 25)

What Fairfield did well: Rebound on the offensive end and force turnovers. The Stags led in offensive rebounding percentage, with a ‘raw’ number edge of 12-­4. Fairfield also turned over Saint Peter’s to an above average turnover rate, translating into a 15-­10 lead in points off turnovers.

What Saint Peter's did well: Shoot the ball and get to the line. The Peacocks shot 46.8 percent overall and 4-of-11 from three-point range. Getting good looks on the offensive end not only allowed Saint Peter’s to shoot well, but draw fouls and get to the line as well.

Hala Mostafa added 15 points, with a game-high effectiveness factor of 26. Mostafa also led Saint Peter’s with nine rebounds and had a game-high eight blocked shots. The Peacocks blocked 11 Fairfield attempts as a team. Samantha Cooper of Fairfield led all with 10 rebounds while struggling from the field in a 1-of-11 effort, scoring just two points. The second half saw Saint Peter’s post a 100 offensive efficiency. Fairfield checked in with a 77, an improvement, but not enough; especially with Saint Peter’s hitting 100, to secure the victory.

Final Thoughts
“This was a good win for us and we needed it. Friday was a disappointment, we felt we should have won. (Friday) Niagara made plays, today we were able to make plays when needed. We struggled at times with their press, then decided to attack it full court and got some layups off it.” -­ Saint Peter’s coach Pat Coyle

“We missed shots, but credit Saint Peter’s. They are well coached, play hard, and we knew their half court defense would be tough. I really think in the end, our offensive struggles led to defensive struggles. We have some work to do to get back on track." - Fairfield coach Joe Frager

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