Battling the dreaded 11 a.m. tip-off time and a nearly sold-out crowd on kids’ day at Canisius, Marist knew it couldn’t ill-afford a slow start Thursday morning. And so they simply didn’t let it come to that, picking up right where they left off from their 96-point outing against Saint Peter’s, this time cruising to a 90-59 victory over the Golden Griffins.
Marist’s big three — Alana Gilmer, Rebekah Hand, and Grace Vander Weide – were dominant. Gilmer scored a game-high 24 points in just 22 minutes, doing most of her work in the second half after being forced to sit because of foul trouble. Hand, despite a cold, finished with a double-double, putting up 18 points and 10 rebounds. Vander Weide also stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, 10 assists, and no turnovers.
“We’ve worked so hard to get to the place we are now,” said Gilmer. “We’re moving so well without the ball, our flow is awesome, and we want it more than anyone else.”
After Canisius hit two threes in the first 90 seconds, Marist set to work, easily penetrating the Griffins’ 2-3 zone. Gilmer, Hand, and Vander Weide all hit threes as the ball moved around the floor like a hot potato. The Red Raider unit got in on the action with Kendall Krick hitting a three, and contributions from Sam Bailey and Trinasia Kennedy. The Red Foxes led 25-18 after the first ten minutes thanks to nine-of-14 shooting, with every field goal being assisted.
“They were tremendous,” Gilmer said of the bench. “Anyone can come in and contribute. The Red Raider group gives us such a spark and helps the rest of the team stay fresh.”
Marist’s depth allowed them to control the tempo. By the seven-minute mark of the second quarter, head coach, Brian Giorgis had already used 11 players. Canisius momentarily confused the Red Foxes by switching to a man-to-man defense but Willow Duffell, reinserted into the starting lineup, stepped out and drained a three to give Marist a 36-24 lead. Rebekah Hand drew comparisons to Dennis Rodman from the Canisius commentators as she relentlessly worked the offensive glass. Her efforts resulted in a layup and a kick out to Kennedy who hit a wide-open three to give the Red Foxes a 44-30 lead going into halftime.
“A lot of people shot the ball well today,” said head coach Brian Giorgis. “We’re a tough team to beat when we’re hitting threes because we can also score the ball inside and we shared the ball very well.”
Canisius made the decision to go back to their 2-3 zone in the third quarter, and Alana Gilmer made them pay. She hit two jumpers from the high post and found Grace Vander Weide for a wide-open layup. Marist opened the quarter on a 10-0 run, expanding their lead to 24. The Red Raider unit got their second run of action and continued to bring the intensity, forcing numerous Griffins turnovers. Gilmer capped off the quarter with two free throws and the Red Foxes took a 67-46 lead into the fourth quarter.
Marist did a wonderful job of containing the Canisius forwards, who posed most of the offensive threat. The Red Foxes lead was never in jeopardy in the fourth quarter. Giorgis continued to cycle through his bench, bringing in freshman Julianna Bonilla who matched her season total coming into the game with five points. Sam Bailey hit the free throws which gave Marist 90 points for the second straight contest.
The Red Foxes put on another impressive shooting display, going 35-of-64 (55%) from the field and a scorching 13-of-25 (52%) from long range. They assisted on 28 of their 35 made field goals, an 80% clip.
Marist moves to 3-0 in MAAC play. They continue their Buffalo swing against Niagara on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Edited by Will Bjarnar