Marist used an explosive second half to defeat Monmouth 74-53 in what can only be described as a tale of two halves.
The Red Foxes were consistently outrebounded and outhustled in the first half against a scrappy Monmouth squad that made enough shots to stick around. Marist head coach Brian Giorgis was not pleased with his team’s performance; he let them know during the intermission.
“I yelled at Willow (Duffell) during halftime,” said Marist head coach Brian Giorgis. “I don’t like doing that, but she came out and played much better in the second half.”
Whatever he said got through. The Red Foxes returned back to being the same club that had won eight of their last nine games coming in. The offensive was once again a cohesive unit and the defense came up with stop after stop. Hustle plays and rebounding distinctly swung Marist’s way. The outcome was sealed by the early minutes of the fourth quarter.
Marist (14-3, 7-1 in the MAAC) had four players in double figures. Alana Gilmer, fresh off a 30-point outing against Quinnipiac, led the Red Foxes with 16 points on six-of-12 shooting. Duffell, who has worked her way back after a leg injury sidelined her for a month, had a season-high 14. Grace Vander Weide also had 14 and Rebekah Hand added 12 in a game where she had trouble getting open looks.
“During halftime, we knew we needed to pick it up,” said Willow Duffell. “We were able to come and play hard in the second half.”
Lucy Thomas tied Gilmer’s game-high 16 for Monmouth (5-14, 2-8 in the MAAC). Alexa Middleton was the only other Hawk in double-digits with 14.
Marist opened the game on a 10-2 run and led 16-11 after one quarter. A Hand three pushed the lead to 23-15 with 6:46 left in the second quarter but Monmouth fought back, winning battles on the glass and in the paint. Two free throws from Sierra Green knotted the game at 30 heading into halftime.
“I thought we were rushing on offense,” said Giorgis. “We took a lot of bad shots in the first half but we [were] much better at executing and getting good looks in the second half.”
Fans of the Red Foxes have become accustomed to big third-quarter runs, especially in close games, so it was no surprise when Marist began to deliver the goods. Scoring from Duffell, Gilmer, and Hand, who hit two straight threes, enabled the Red Foxes to go on a 13-5 run and open a 43-35 lead by the 6:57 mark of the third.
A Middleton layup for Monmouth cut the lead to 45-43 at the 4:30 mark. It was the closest the Hawks, who never led, would get for the rest of the game. A 7-0 Marist run punctuated by a three from Molly Smith, gave the Red Foxes a 55-43 advantage heading into the final ten minutes.
Unlike the meeting 23 days ago in Poughkeepsie, Marist did not allow Monmouth to stage any kind of rally. Vander Weide scored eight of the Red Foxes first nine fourth-quarter points, completing a 16-1 run that spanned close to nine minutes. Marist had a firm grip on the game, leading 63-44 with six minutes left. A strong showing from role players like Trinasia Kennedy helped the Red Foxes expand their lead even further and cruise to their ninth win in ten games.
Marist put together another solid shooting performance, going 28-of-62 (45%) from the field and an impressive 12-of-23 (52%) from beyond the arc. Despite being outrebounded early on, the Red Foxes came back to win the battle of the boards 35-28. Marist also took great care of the ball, dishing out 21 assists compared to just 10 turnovers.
Monmouth shot 21-of-46 (46%) from the field but just two-of-14 (14%) from three-point range. Their assist-to-turnover numbers came in stark contrast to Marist, as they finished with only 10 assists and a startling 19 giveaways.
The Red Foxes will be back in action on Thursday night when they visit Fairfield, who is 6-0 in the MAAC. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Edited by Will Bjarnar