Friday, March 16, 2012

Johnson Falls, So Does Fairfield Women in WNIT

A little less than two weeks ago, when Fairfield lost its standout senior forward Taryn Johnson to foul woes for much of the second half in a MAAC tournament semifinal round game against Siena, the Stags actually overcame a one-point deficit and ran off to a 63-48 victory.

But Fairfield couldn't survive the 5-foot-11 Johnson's absence in its first-round game of the WNIT, played before a crowd of 577 at the Stags' on-campus Alumni Hall Thursday night.

Fairfield had a 16-13 lead over Drexel when Johnson fell hard while battling for a rebound and suffered a sprained left ankle.

With Johnson out, Drexel went on a 10-5 run to close the half and take a two-point lead at the intermission.

Johnson tried to return in the second half, game observers report she was limping badly and she took herself out of the contest with more than 16 minutes left and never returned.

Again, Drexel took advantage with a 15-2 run to open the second half that enabled it to extend its lead to 38-23 and the Stags never threatened again in what turned out to be a 57-41 Drexel victory.

"Obviously, when Taryn steps off the floor we have to make some adjustments as a team," senior guard Desiree Pina, who had a team-high 11 points, told the Connecticut Post afterwards.

"(Losing Johnson) takes away a big dimension on the offensive end,"  Fairfield coach Joe Frager told the Connecticut Post. "And, she gives us some length on defense. She's been one of our go-to people all season on offense and when she's out of the flow it changes the way we have to play. We didn't go inside as effectively when Taryn wasn't in the game."

The outcome finishes Fairfield's season with a stellar 24-9 record. Only the 1990-91, 1999-00 and 2000-01 Fairfield women's teams, each with 25 wins, finished with more victories in a single season.

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