Now in his 17th season as the head coach at Marist, Brian Giorgis has enough perspective and has experienced enough success to know when his team has achieved something special.
He did not hold back when talking about how proud he felt after his team’s 74-68 win over Temple Sunday afternoon at the McCann Arena. It improved Marist to a 3-0 start to the season. “This was a tremendous win for the program, we haven’t had a win like this in a while,” Giorgis said.
“For the upperclassmen, probably one of the best wins for them with the program,” added Giorgis. “Temple is an outstanding team, very athletic and the type of team that sometimes gives us trouble. I’m really proud of these guys, they work hard together. A lot of programs say that, but this team lives it.”
Just ten seconds into the game, Rebekah Hand knocked down a three-pointer, foreshadowing a big offensive night for the All-MAAC first team recipient. Hand led Marist in scoring with 28 points, shooting an efficient 7 of 14 from the field, three of four from behind the three-point line, and 11 of 12 with free-throw attempts.
“I wanted to forget about [the game against Boston University],” Hand said of her uncharacteristic 4 of 15 from the field in Marist’s 68-57 win last Friday. “I was just looking to play better than I did the other day.”
Hand now sits at 999 career points. With a three-game tournament in Nashville next on their schedule, she was disappointed that she did not reach the 1,000 point milestone on her home court. “That one free-throw I missed,” Hand said while laughing and shaking her head.
With the Red Foxes holding a narrow single-digit lead for the entirety of the third quarter, the Owls cut the lead down to three with 8:59 left in the game. Marist then went on a 6-0 run in the next two minutes, with two baskets from Willow Duffell, to pull ahead 59-50.
In the final three minutes of the game, Alana Gilmer scored two baskets for Marist to keep Temple from making a late comeback attempt. Gilmer was the second leading scorer for the team with 14 points.
“I think the biggest difference from last season is that we are a lot more composed,” Hand said. “Compared to last season, I don’t think we would have won a close game like that.”
Despite the program’s success, this is only the third time in program history that a team has started with a record of 3-0.
For Gilmer, she believes the key was the team’s connection off the court has helped them get off to a good start. “I think that it is really evident that we are close knitted off-the-court, I think it’s the same on the court now,” said Gilmer. “We all guide each other, help each other out. We play like sisters, I know that is kind of cheesy but that is how we play.”
Marist will look to continue their hot start with The Challenge in Music City tournament during Thanksgiving weekend. Where they will face Stenson, Hofstra, and Wright State on consecutive days starting on Friday.
Celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday as a team, Giorgis was asked if the Thanksgiving food will taste a little better after having a 3-0 start. He shrugged and said, “I think it tastes pretty good any way you look at it.”
Edited by Oscar Fick