On March 2nd, the Marist Women’s Basketball team defeated the Manhattan Jaspers 84-60 and will move on to the MAAC semi-finals. Head coach Brian Giorgis stated, “I was really pleased with how we shot the basketball. We are fortunate, we prevailed, and came out on top, and are moving on.”
Before the game began, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference held its annual award ceremony, honoring the men’s and women’s basketball players in the conference. Marist player, Maura Fitzpatrick was honored as the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year.
Fitzpatrick not only leads the league in minutes played, she also led Marist in steals with 36 and played a key role in the team’s number one field goal percentage at 37.1-percent. As number two ranked Marist began play against number seven Manhattan, Fitzpatrick immediately began making an impact. At the end of the second, the Red Foxes led the Jaspers 41-29 with Alana Gilmer leading the team with 11 points, followed closely by Rebekah Hand with 9 and Fitzpatrick with 8.
Fitzpatrick wasn’t the only player in the matchup honored with a MAAC award. Manhattan College’s Gabby Cajou took home Sixth Player of the Year Award. Despite only putting up 5 points for the Jaspers, Cajou grabbed 3 rebounds and dished 3 assists in the game.
The Manhattan offense pushed the Foxes and continued to fight for points, with forward Kayla Grimme leading the Jaspers in both points and minutes played. The last time the two teams met in early January, the Red Foxes won the game 65-40 with Gilmer and Fitzpatrick each putting up 14 points. The Red Foxes out rebounded Manhattan 34-33 but the Jaspers held a 14-7 advantage on the offensive glass, making for a fairly even game despite Manhattan’s lack of scoring.
“I played a bunch of sports growing up, but I seriously started organized basketball in third grade for our town,” Fitzpatrick said. “At the time there was no girls team, so I played with the boys until fourth grade when they had a girls travel team.”
Starting at a young age, Fitzpatrick’s love for the game overtook all obstacles, including playing for a boys team as a child. It’s no wonder that Fitzpatrick has been honored as the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, her love for the sport drives her passion to succeed.
Fitzpatrick has been a key to the Red Foxes success this season, helping them to their 18-12 overall record as well as their 14-4 MAAC record. Head coach Brian Giorgis stated regarding Maura’s honor early in the day, “I think today was a really good example of why she was the Defensive Player of the Year. She didn’t do it by leading the conference in steals or block shots. She did it by taking on the best players night in and night out and has done a really tremendous job for us.”
As the Red Foxes continued to lead the Jaspers in the second half of play, Fitzpatrick continued to put up points alongside Gilmer and Hand. Despite putting up triumphant effort, the Jaspers fell short to the powerhouse that is Marist women’s basketball. Fitzpatrick proved to be the strong defensive player that she had been recognized as early in the day, helping the Foxes to outscore and push past the Jaspers’ offensive efforts.