Rebekah Hand entered Sunday’s 72-60 victory over Green Bay just one point short of passing Ursula Winter (1,587 points) for second place on Marist’s all-time scoring list. It was fitting that the best free-throw shooter in Marist history used two freebies to promptly tie and pass Winter in the first quarter.
Grace Vander Weide led the Red Foxes with 20 points and added 12 rebounds for her second double-double of the year. Hand also finished with a double-double, putting up 14 points and 10 rebounds. The last time a Marist duo filled the stat sheet in such a way, it was Hand and Alana Gilmer back in December 2017. Gilmer finished with 18 points despite first-half foul trouble.
“It was a great team effort and a great win for us,” said Grace Vander Weide. “I just love playing basketball with my teammates”
Marist put its offensive struggles and a two-game losing streak in the rear-view mirror, blitzing a tired and hurting Green Bay team in the early going. Thanks to strong efforts from Vander Weide and Sarah Barcello, the Red Foxes closed the opening quarter on 14-4 run and led 23-10 after ten minutes.
Marist cooled considerably in the second quarter, but a great defensive effort kept the lead safe. The Red Foxes befuddled Green Bay by double-teaming in the post and swarming around the floor to force turnovers. Hand hit a three off a nice feed from Vander Weide, which extended the Marist lead to 15 with just over a minute left in the half. The Red Foxes and Phoenix played to a draw in the second quarter, as Marist took a 35-22 lead into the break.
“The one thing we have done well all year is play defense,” said Marist head coach Brian Giorgis. “Our offense has been a little off at times, but the defense has been there.”
By halftime, Marist had taken 28 shots, 21 coming from beyond the arc. The volume shooting approach was paying dividends for a team that had struggled to climb over 50 points in their last two games and against an opponent who struggled mightily in the first half.
Grace Vander Weide scored nine of her 20 points in the third quarter as Marist continued to hold on to a double-digit lead. Green Bay, without their top two guards, began to show some life, cutting the lead to 40-30 early in the second half. Marist reestablished control with a 9-3 run, spurred by Vander Weide and a three from Molly Smith. The Phoenix fought back to close the quarter and a jumper from all-Horizon leaguer Frankie Wurtz cut the lead to 54-42 entering the last 10 minutes.
The Red Foxes were able to squash all hopes of a Green Bay comeback as its senior trio of Hand, Gilmer, and Vander Weide helmed a run that would make the score 63-44. Gilmer filled the scoring column after being saddled by foul trouble in the first half, scoring eight of her 18 points in the quarter. The Phoenix finally started to heat up from the field, but it was too little too late as Marist cruised to its sixth and best win of the year.
“We played a very strong game on both ends and got great contributions from the bench with Alana (Gilmer) in foul trouble,” said Giorgis. “We found different people and a different way to win.”
The Phoenix were held to 23 of 61 (38%) shooting from the floor. They equaled Marist with 11 three-pointers in a more economical 27 attempts. Neither team shot many free throws, but Green Bay could only manage three-of-seven from the charity stripe.
The Phoenix were led by one-time Marist recruit Frankie Wurtz who finished with 16 points. Lyndsey Robson added 15 in the losing effort.
Marist will travel to another strong mid-major in Texas-Arlington on December 19. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Edited by Will Bjarnar