It hadn’t happened since December 3, 2015. A nine-game losing streak that stretched more than four years was finally broken as Marist defeated Quinnipiac 73-60. While it’s not total revenge for the slew of painful losses that were endured, but it’s certainly a great start.
The Red Foxes senior class was tired of hearing all the noise about being unable to defeat their conference rival, who had topped them in two consecutive conference championship games heading into this season.
“It means so much to be able to beat them,” said senior forward Alana Gilmer. “We’ve worked really hard to get to this point and it’s something we’ve been talking about for a while.”
Marist (13-3, 6-1 in the MAAC) received strong, yet absurdly under the radar 30 points from Gilmer, who finished 14-25 from the field. Senior guard, Rebekah Hand added 13 and redshirt senior guard Grace Vander Weide flirted with a triple-double, coming up with nine points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. The Red Foxes also saw strong performances out of post players junior forward Willow Duffell and redshirt junior forward Molly Smith, who finished with eight and six points respectively.
“It was a tremendous win for the program,” said Head Coach Brian Giorgis. “It feels great to be able to come out and win a game against a young but talented Quinnipiac team.”
Quinnipiac (7-9, 4-3 in the MAAC) was led by deceptively diminutive junior guard Shaq Edwards (unlike her namesake), who finished with 13 points. Sophomore guard Mackenzie DeWees added 12, while senior guard Taylor Herd and freshman forward Mikala Morris both had 10 for the Bobcats.
Marist had trouble securing defensive rebounds in the early going. Despite being outshot 24-12, The Red Foxes managed to make eight field goals, compared to Quinnipiac’s seven, and led 19-18 after the first quarter. Gilmer, who scored nine first-quarter points, continued to work her magic from mid-range and came up with a putback off a Vander Weide miss, to beat the buzzer and give the Red Foxes a 38-30 halftime lead.
The trio of senior stalwarts: Gilmer, Vander Weide, and Hand scored in quick succession on an 8-2 run out of halftime that increased the Marist lead to 46-32. A layup by freshman guard Trinasia Kennedy, who received some minutes in the absences of sophomore guard Sarah Barcello and redshirt senior guard Claire Oberdorf, made it 51-37 with 4:18 left in the third.
Just as it seemed like the Red Foxes were going to cruise to a 20-point victory, the offense grounded to a nearly complete halt, almost as if the reality of the situation was already setting in. A three-point play by Quinnipiac’s Edwards cut the lead to 53-48 entering the fourth quarter. Marist was going to need to earn this one.
Gilmer heard this message loud and clear, scoring the first six points of the final stanza, forcing a Bobcats timeout. Duffell capped off the 8-0 run with a jumper and the Red Foxes lead was back up to 61-48. Quinnipiac benefitted off some calls that were questionable at best but could only come as close as 61-54.
It was Gilmer, once again, who came up with a response. She completed a three-point play that brought the lead to 66-54 at the five-minute mark. Junior guard Allie Best hit a three that put the game out of the reach of the Bobcats and Gilmer put the exclamation point on the win with a jumper that rounded her up to 30 points. The Red Foxes were met by a standing ovation from a packed McCann Center, fully aware they were witnessing a landmark victory.
“Alana (Gilmer) had an incredible game today,” said Giorgis. “I didn’t realize she had 30. It was the quietest 30-point performance I’ve seen. We got great play from a bunch of people and the thing that made me the happiest was that we did it on the defensive end.”
Marist was a scorching eight-of-12 after the first quarter. Despite cooling down as the game proceeded, they managed to finish a more than respectable 32-60 (53%) from the field and seven-of-19 (37%) from beyond the arc. Despite being outrebounded early, the Red Foxes ended with a 37-36 advantage on the glass.
Quinnipiac was held to just 24-68 (35%) and only five-of-20 from three-point range. The Bobcats did not share the ball effectively, finishing with only nine assists.
Marist will be back in action on Saturday, traveling to Monmouth. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Edited by Bridget Reilly