Marist completed their brief Florida swing with a 74-63 win over Lipscomb at the HP Fieldhouse in Orlando today. The victory propelled the Red Foxes to a 5-0 mark on the season, tying the program record set last season.
Rebekah Hand once again led the Red Foxes in scoring, with 24 points that included a four-of-eight performance from beyond the arc. Alana Gilmer chipped in 16 more and Grace Vander Weide put up a double-double with 11 points and 11 assists.
“It was a great team effort,” said Rebekah Hand. “The back-to-back games are great preparation for March.”
Marist jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead with three-pointers by Rebekah Hand and Grace Vander Weide in the first minute of play. Alana Gilmer got into the mix with six straight points of her own giving the Red Foxes a 12-2 advantage. Lipscomb climbed back into the game after taking Marist’s best punch to the gut; heating up from three as Marist went cold. The Red Foxes responded by going to Molly Smith, who hit two mid-range jumpers to give Marist a 16-13 lead after 10 minutes.
“I thought Molly did a great job,” said coach Brian Giorgis. Smith put up six points and five rebounds in relief of Willow Duffell, who will be sidelined for the rest of non-conference play with an ankle injury.
The teams went back and forth after that, responding to each other’s runs; the Bisons led 23-22 for a moment until Vander Weide spurred Marist toward a 29-27 lead. Lipscomb’s Taylor Clark completed a three-point play to regain the lead for Lipscomb on the ensuing play. On the other end, though, Molly Smith grabbed an offensive rebound, then found Allie Best for a wide-open jumper that took Marist into the locker room with a slim 31-30 advantage.
The Red Foxes’ experienced brigade began to take it to the Lady Bisons in the second half. Alana Gilmer hit a three to give Marist a lead that they would permanently hold. Then came time for Rebekah Hand to put her fingerprints all over the game. She hit two consecutive threes and in an instant, it was 40-32. Then, as Gilmer headed to the bench with four fouls, Hand put in four more points (a 10-0 run by herself, if we do the math). It was only stopped by another Vander Weide three and four Trinasia Kennedy free throws. By the time the dust had settled, Marist had a 51-33 lead stemming from a 20-1 run.
“Our defense did some really good things, only letting them make one field goal,” Giorgis said of the stretch that looked primarily dominated by the offense. “Then it was a lot of Rebekah Hand hitting some big shots, which allowed us to stretch the lead and get a lot of people in.”
Giorgis emptied the bench late in the game, with the likes of Kendall Krick and Claire Oberdorf receiving minutes as Lipscomb desperately tried to extend the game. The Lady Bisons fought to the very end, but Marist was able to make enough free throws to clinch the 74-63 outcome.
The Red Foxes shot 48 percent from the floor and 32 percent from three (deceiving after such a hot start). Another shock came in the form of a non-traditionally lackadaisical performance at the free-throw line (58 percent). But after assisting on 20 made shots yesterday, Marist upped its total to 22 today, assisting on an impressive 88 percent of makes. Over the two days, Marist assisted on 42 of its 49 made shots.
Perhaps the scariest thing for Marist opponents is Giorgis’ belief that the offense still has room to improve despite scoring over 70 points per game. “We still haven’t clicked yet,” he said.
Taylor Clark led Lipscomb with 19 points, doing most of her work from the foul line. Jalyn Holcomb added 14 more for the Lady Bisons. The team could only manage a 21-of-58 (36 percent) day from the field, going seven-of-26 (27 percent) from three. Marist was able to force 15 Lipscomb turnovers.
Marist begins the mid-major gauntlet on its schedule when they travel to face Central Michigan next Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Edited by Will Bjarnar