Marist and Quinnipiac faced off for the second-straight year in the MAAC Championship, and in similar fashion to last year, Quinnipiac’s Jen Fay dominated — scoring 25 points with 13 rebounds, including seven offensive boards — to help Quinnipiac defeat Marist 81-51 Monday at the Times Union Center in Albany. This win gives Quinnipiac its third-straight MAAC title and the team’s third victory over Marist in the championship in the past five seasons.
The game kicked off as a shooting battle, with each team hitting a pair of 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the game. Marist claimed an early led with sharp shooting from Sarah Barcello and Grace Vander Weide. Marist led 20-18 at the end of first quarter by shooting 66.4 percent from the field, including going 4-for-6 with 3-pointers.
Starting in the second quarter, Quinnipiac was able to sustain its scoring pace and Marist was unable to keep up. Quinnipiac went on a 10-0 run in the second quarter. Marist would not score until four minutes left in the quarter, when Vander Weide — who ultimately finished the game with a career-high 25 points — knocked down a jumper to break the scoring drought. Meanwhile, Quinnipiac was able to create open looks and grabbed eight offensive rebounds that led to 10 second-chance points to help create a 38-29 lead at halftime.
Quinnipiac’s offense kept up its pace in the second half, scoring a total of 43 points in the half. The Bobcats established a sizeable lead midway through the third quarter. A particularly deflating moment for Marist came when Aryn McClure picked off the dribble of Rebekah Hand, then on the other end, Fay came down with two offensive rebounds, she put it back up herself the second time and made a layup while getting fouled to make it an 18-point game. The Bobcats lead continued to grow and ultimately handed Marist its largest defeat of the season.
With the victory, Quinnipiac continues its dominance within the conference with their 52nd-straight MAAC victory; their last conference loss was on February 2, 2017. The Bobcats will find out their seeding in the NCAA Tournament on March 18. ESPN’s college basketball bracketology projects Quinnipiac as a 12-seed in the tournament.
There is a slim chance that Marist’s season could continue by receiving an at-large bid to the WNIT, a consolation tournament for teams that fail to make the NCAA Tournament. Last season, no MAAC team received an at-large bid.
If Marist’s season did conclude Monday, they finished with a 23-10 record, which is the team’s best winning percentage since the 2013-14 season. They had impressive non-conference victories with Temple and Northeastern University, and were able to defeat every opponent in the MAAC conference at least once, with the major exception of Quinnipiac.
Marist will have a strong veteran presence next season with all three of the team’s All-MAAC players — Rebekah Hand, Grace Vander Weide and Alana Gilmer — entering their senior seasons.
Perhaps the best news for the Red Foxes for next year: Quinnipiac’s Jen Fay is graduating.
Edited by Meaghan Roche
Header photo courtesy of Marist Athletics