It took Rebekah Hand until 6:25 left in the third quarter for her to be able to do what she does best: shoot free throws. Driving to her left, she was able to draw a foul, giving her two shots from the spot where she has made 96.2 percent of her shots this season. Hand did her brief three dribbles and fire routine, but the basketball did not end up in its usual place. The ball hit the back off the rim and flew back towards Hand’s direction. In a flash, ending her 62-straight free throw streak, just eight shy of tying the all time NCAA record.
However, there was much more than a missed free throw that played into the Red Foxes 68-58 loss to Rider Wednesday night.
“To come off the loss to Manhattan, just to get out physicaled, out hustled, out toughened,” said Head Coach Brian Giorgis. “Right now our offense is a hot mess and we have nobody on the same page.”
Outside of Alana Gilmer scoring 27 points off 10-of-15 shooting, the Marist offense struggled to find its flow. Hand, being shadowed by Amari Johnson throughout the game, was limited to 11 points.
The team especially struggled in the first half, shooting 34.6 percent from the field and 1-of-8 from 3-pointers.
Rider had four players record 15 or more points in the game including Stella Johnson, who is averaging a MAAC-leading 19.8 points for the Broncos, netting 18 points.
“We have to do a better job of knowing players and take away what people do,” Giorgis said.
Despite the frustration Giorgis expressed, Marist was able to make it a close game in the fourth quarter. The Red Foxes run was kicked off by an Allie Best 3-pointer followed by Alana Gilmer driving in to make a lay-up while drawing a foul making the score 53-48 after she converted the and-one attempt.
The Riders were able to respond, highlighted by Lexi Posset knocking down a deep 3-pointer to grow their lead to 56-48 with four minutes left. Then, Stella Johnson made an off balanced lay-up to make it a nine-point game with 2:16 left.
“Stella just showed she is the best player in the league because she doesn’t force things,” Giorgis said about her performance in the fourth quarter.
Overall, Giorgis emphasized after the game that his team needs to regroup mentally. “We got many different people doing different things. People running and not executing things. Not setting up cuts, not setting good screens, not shaping up. You’d think we were illiterate if reading screens was actual reading.”
Marist now drops to 15-7 (7-3 MAAC) after the lost. They still remain third in the MAAC standing, behind Rider (7-1 MAAC) and Quinnipiac (8-0 MAAC).
Gilmer hopes to see a different mindset coming out with their next game at Siena on Friday night. “We need to come out with edge to us some fire and anger in us. Because we know how good we can be. We want to do great things so we have to come out and not let that happen again.”
Edited by Oscar Fick