After his team suffered a 70-56 loss to Fairfield in a women's quarterfinal round contest Friday, Loyola coach Joe Logan offered the opinion that the Stags' Stephanie Geehan might well be the conference's second-best player (behind Player of the Year winner Rachele Fitz of Marist).
But, on this day Geehan looked at least the equal of Fitz. The 6-foot-2 Fairfield senior center scored 22 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, blocked four shots and made four steals.
Geehan had 13 points and eight rebounds by halftime helping her team, the No. 3 seed in this event, to a 44-22 advantage.
Loyola pulled to within 10, 47-37, with 13:05 remaining but Geehan countered with an 18-foot jumper, a 3-pointer and a layup that helped extend the lead.
Loyola got to within nine with 4:24 remaining, but could no closer after that.
"I that first half we played about as well as we did all season," said Fairfield coach Joe Frager, whose team is now 18-12 overall.
The winners took advantage of a considerable size advantage to hod a 43-29 edge on the boards in the contest.
"Their height advantage was huge, and no pun intended," said Loyola's Logan. "We just didn't have an answer. Geehan has really developed for them. You watch films of her first few years at Fairfield and you see that she's only a small part of who she is today. That's a credit to the work Joe Frager has done with her and how hard she's worked on it."
Geehan got help from sophomore guard Desiree Pina (17 points), senior forward Tara Flaherty (12 points on 6-of-7 shooting) and freshman guard Katelyn Linney (12 points).
Junior guard Miriam McKenzie led Loyola with 20 points, while freshman guard Katie Sheahin added 14 points for Loyola (14-16 overall).
Fairfield advances to meet Iona in a 9:30 a.m. semifinal-round contest today.