Taryn Johnson might not have been named the MAAC's women's Player of the Year, but Fairfield's 5-foot-11 senior forward sure played like one in Friday's early quarterfinal-round game, a 61-45 victory over Iona.
The second-seeded Stags rode Johnson's 19 point, three-steal, two-assist effort to take an early lead and continue to expand it.
Johnson, a first-team all-league selection, led all MAAC players during the regular season with her 54.5 shooting percentage and improved that Friday by connecting on 8-of-11 shots from the floor.
Teammate Katelyn Linney aded 11 points, whlie reserve Brittany MacFarlane, the conference's Sixth Player of the Year, added 10 points and six rebounds.
Iona, which finishes with a 13-18 overall record, advanced to the quarterfinal round with a 61-60 overtime victory against Rider on Thursday in which its standout freshmen guards Damika Martinez and Aleesha Powell combined to score 32 of their team's final 34 points.
But the Stags did a good-enough job against that dynamic freshman duo on Friday, limiting them to 30 points and 8-of-22 shooting, with most of those points after the outcome was pretty much decided.
Fairfield, the No. 2 seed in the event, advances to Saturday's 9:30 a.m. semifinal-round contest against Siena.
The two teams met in last year's quarterfinal round with Siena earning a 36-33 victory.
"We did not want to repeat what happened to us last year," said MacFarlane, about last season's early tournament departure by the Stags.
Fairfield is 23-7 overall so far this season.