Marist capped off its winningest decade in program history with a 73-57 win at Texas Arlington on Friday. The 2010s saw the Red Foxes finish with a tidy 230-100 record, with seven seasons of at least 20 wins and four NCAA Tournament appearances.
The game was a homecoming for the Hand sisters, who reside in nearby Argyle, Texas, only 45 minutes from Arlington. Alongside Rebekah, Hannah Hand got her first start of the season and first significant playing time since the Red Foxes win over Albany. Rebekah had a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Hannah added six points of her own on a pair of threes in front of a large contingent of family and friends.
“No one gets to see us since we’re in Poughkeepsie,” Rebekah said. “It was a great turnout.”
It was Alana Gilmer who set the early tone for the Red Foxes. 15 of her game-high 21 points came before halftime. She helped pull Marist out of an early deficit by hitting a jumper in the paint and adding a three to give the Red Foxes the lead, which they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. A Gilmer layup as time expired in the first quarter made it 15-11.
Hannah Hand stretched Marist’s lead to 30-22 with a three midway through the second quarter; Gilmer hit another just before the break, which allowed the Red Foxes to go into the locker room with a 34-28 lead. The contrasting styles of play could not be more evident. Marist had already made six threes, while Texas Arlington rarely ventured outside the paint for its points.
Hannah Hand hit a three that keyed one of this Marist team’s trademarks: the third-quarter run. After she made it 37-29, the Red Foxes would score eight consecutive points to blow the contest wide open. Marist took a 50-33 advantage into the fourth quarter, limiting the Mavericks to just five third-quarter points on just two-of-14 shooting.
Texas Arlington found some offense in the last 10 minutes but could only come as close as 51-39. A Kendall Krick three proved to be the dagger to the Mavericks hopes, stretching the Red Foxes lead to 56-39 with inside seven minutes to play. From there Marist was able to cruise home, helped by many backdoor cuts that set up easy baskets for Rebekah Hand. In a poignant moment, the Hand sisters were able to leave the game together with inside a minute left.
“Just being home and playing with Hannah is incredible,” said Rebekah. “I’m so proud of her, she’s been through a lot.”
The Red Foxes shot 27-60 (45 percent) and a scintillating 11-of-23 (48 percent) from three-point range. Marist is undefeated (6-0) when they make more than nine threes in a game. They also assisted on an impressive 23-of-27 field goals and outrebounded the Mavericks 42-33.
Texas Arlington was led in scoring by Marie Benson with 18 points. Claire Chastain was the only other player in double-figures with 17.
Marist will go into a conference play with a 7-2 record. Their first game of 2020 will be against Monmouth in the McCann Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. on January 2.
Edited by Will Bjarnar