Fairfield’s women’s basketball team (28-1, 20-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) is breaking new records.

After debuting in the AP Women’s College Basketball Top 25 Poll last Monday, Fairfield University women’s basketball maintained its position as the No. 25. 

In the newly released poll, it obtained 18 more votes than last week, two votes shy of No. 24 Louisville (24-9) and three away from No. 23 Creighton (25-5). 

The Stags closed the MAAC regular season with an 83-54 victory against Rider University last Saturday, becoming the second team ever in the MAAC conference to have a perfect record. Their only loss this season was to the SEC’s Vanderbilt, in a 73-71 game early in the season. 

The Stags are the first MAAC team to appear in the AP poll since 2011 and they became the fourth MAAC program to be ranked in the AP Top 25. The other three schools were Marist, Saint Peter’s and former MAAC school La Salle. 

However, while the last push came from a social media effort behind the “#RankTheStags” hashtag, the women’s basketball team had received AP votes starting on Jan. 8, when two voters selected the program for the prestigious list. 

The above graph shows the amount of votes attributed to Fairfield Women’s Basketball for the AP Top 25 Poll over time. (Graph created by Julián Nazario)

“For us to be receiving votes in the AP Top 25 is incredibly rewarding and just the beginning of what we are building!,” said Head Coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis in a press release after the Jan. 8 appearance. 

Eight weeks later, after submitting a resume for the AP and USA Today polls, the Stags finally were ranked on March 4 with 60 total votes. 

Sports Illustrated highlighted the feat, the team became the NCAA.com’s team of the week and two days later, on March 6, Coach Carly appeared on SportsCenter for the first national TV interview after being ranked.

The hype over the Stags is more than just mediatic. Searches for the women’s basketball team on Google peaked on March 4 and 5, according to Google Trends. That last significant peak in searches occurred around March 13, 2022, when the women’s team was announced as the No. 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Stags are also celebrating this historic season with significant MAAC postseason awards.

Senior Janelle Brown was named Player of the Year, while First-Year Meghan Andersen was unanimously recognized as the Rookie of the Year. Both were also named to the All-MAAC First Team. 

Second-year head Coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis was named MAAC Coach of the Year by a unanimous vote. She has led the women’s basketball team to its best regular season in school history, improving last season’s conference record of 11-9. 

The MAAC regular season champions will open their play at the conference’s tournament in Atlantic City, N.J., on Wednesday at 1 p.m. as they continue their quest for the fifth conference title.

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