The Marist women’s basketball team won their season opener, defeating Boston University 89-75. The team reached the early and important 1-0 milestone, but it was coach Brian Giorgis who reached a much loftier pillar, collecting his 400th win.
“I’ve had a lot of good people to help get me there,” Giorgis said after the win.
Grace Vander Weide gave Marist its first score of the season with a layup forty seconds into the contest. The Red Fox defense held Boston University scoreless for more than two minutes before Sydney Johnson broke the seal for the Terriers at the 7:51 mark of the first quarter. Talk about suffocating defense, something the team has focused on since the offseason.
Alana Gilmer responded for Marist, blocking a three-point attempt on one end and taking it coast to coast to give the Red Foxes a 4-2 advantage. The teams went back and forth for the next few minutes. Katie Nelson tied the game at nine for the Terriers by hitting a three, but Rebekah Hand gave Marist the lead back with a three of her own but a moment later. Marist closed the first quarter with a flourish, as Gilmer canned a jumper to give Marist an 18-9 advantage after ten minutes.
A Molly Smith three extended the lead to 23-9, shortly into the second quarter, capping off 14-0 run from the Red Foxes as it began. The Terriers, though, were able to regroup and hang around. Katie Nelson hit a three to cap off a 7-0 Boston run and cut the Marist lead to 30-24 with a minute left in the half. The Red Foxes would respond positively, scoring the last four points of the half to secure a 10-point lead and keep momentum on their side.
After Sydney Johnson opened the half with a three for Boston, Marist responded with a quick 9-0 run, led by stars Rebekah Hand and Alana Gilmer as they opened up a 43-27 advantage. This allowed the Red Foxes to take control and to keep the Terriers at arm’s length, keeping the lead around 10. The quarter ended with Marist up 60-47.
“They didn’t give up and quit,” Giorgis said of the opposition. “There were a couple of times where we got the lead to 15 or 16 and they cut back to single-digits,” he added.
It looked like Marist would have to weather one of these charges when Annabelle Larnard cut the Red Fox lead to 66-59 with a three at the six-minute mark. Instead of folding, Marist used their experience to counter with a run of their own, the stretch punctuated by an Allie Best three. This all-but sealed it for Marist, who withstood Boston’s effort to lengthen the game. Clutch foul shooting from the likes of Grace Vander Weide, Rebekah Hand, and Molly Smith gave the Red Foxes the final 89-75 margin.
Hot-shooting, the charity stripe, and rebounding were the catalysts for the Red Foxes. They shot 29-58 (50 percent) from the floor and 9-19 (47 percent) from three against the Terriers (who ran a zone for most of the game). Boston University could only muster a 21-63 (33 percent) effort from the floor, with eleven of those makes being threes. Both teams connected on 22 free throws, but Marist did so on a much more economical 24 attempts, compared 33 from the Terriers. The Red Foxes were also able to dominate on the glass, outrebounding BU 43-32.
“We have a good zone offense and we were able to shoot well from the field tonight,” Giorgis said, “I thought we executed well for the first game of the season.” He was also impressed with his team’s foul shooting. “We have people who can make free throws at the 75 to 85 percent range,” he continued. “They exceeded that tonight.”
The Red Foxes were led by a game-high 27 points from Hand, who finished four of six from three and added eight rebounds. Alana Gilmer chipped in 20 of her own on nine-of-16 shooting. Grace Vander Weide (18) and Molly Smith (12) were the other double-digit scorers for Marist; they also tied for a team-high nine rebounds. The Terriers were led by Sydney Johnson, who finished with team-highs in points (21) and assists (4).
“Our veterans were great tonight; our experience really helped us,” said Giorgis. “They had great freshmen who will be terrific players in the future”.
Marist will take on Albany from the America East Conference, Wednesday, Nov. 13, inside the McCann Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Edited by Will Bjarnar