With last month’s loss to Fairfield still fresh on the mind of players and coaches, Marist had one thing on its mind—revenge. The Red Foxes got it and then some in a 75-45 thrashing of Fairfield on Monday.
Marist extended its longest win streak of the season to eight games in a complete performance. The offense started slow but quickly got rolling, putting together a 10-for-13 effort in the third quarter. The defense forced the Stags into numerous prolonged scoring droughts which helped the Red Foxes gain and keep the separation they could not hold on to in the first meeting.
“We really turned it up on both ends of the floor,” said Marist head coach Brian Giorgis. “Defensively, we forced multiple shot-clock violations and blocked some shots. It was a real feather in our cap.”
It seemed like the Red Foxes were going to get bogged down in the same kind of half-court tempo game that led to their demise at Fairfield on January 30. The Stags opened with the first five points and held Marist scoreless over the first four minutes. Unlike the last time the Red Foxes were faced with adversity against Fairfield, the team came together and played as a cohesive unit. Marist closed the first quarter on a 15-0 run that culminated in a display of twin telepathy as Rebekah Hand snatched an offensive rebound and as she was losing her footing, delivered a beauty of a pass to her sister Hannah, who finished the easy layup.
“We focused on the things we wanted to correct from the first game,” said Rebekah Hand. “At that moment we definitely had some kind of connection. Hannah somehow read my mind. I did not see her and then there she was.”
Marist, 22-4 overall and 15-2 in the MAAC, got a game-high 20 from Rebekah Hand who was eight-for-eight for the second consecutive game from the foul line. Alana Gilmer posted 19 of her own on nine-for-15 shooting. Grace Vander Weide added ten and Willow Duffell finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
Fairfield, 13-12 overall and 10-6 in conference, has lost three of their last four games. Lou Lopez-Senechal was the only Stag in double-digits with 16 points.
The Red Foxes continued their assault on both sides of the ball. It took Fairfield over seven minutes to break the scoring drought that began at the 6:43 mark of the first quarter. An 8-0 run keyed by Marist’s senior core, extended the lead to 27-9 with 4:43 left. The Red Foxes took a 33-16 advantage into the break.
Weary of their poor second-half performance in the first meeting, Marist set about extending their lead. The Red Foxes stretched the margin to 49-20 with 5:19 left in the third quarter and served as the de facto knockout punch. A layup from Duffell made it 60-30 heading into the final ten minutes.
“We had an outstanding third quarter,” Giorgis said. “We shot over 75 percent which helped us get up to a comfortable lead and allowed us to play some more people.”
The Red Foxes continued to pour it on. Hannah Hand connected on a layup which gave her team their largest lead, a 73-39 stranglehold with 3:29 left. Freshman Sam Bailey provided Marist’s last basket and the Red Foxes finished with their second-largest win of the season.
Marist finished 29-for-58 from the field, a far cry from the 21-for-57 effort in the first meeting. The Red Foxes only shot five-of-22 performance from the three-point line but more than made up for it with their play inside. Marist won the rebounding battle by an astounding 47-17 margin and outscored Fairfield 38-12 in the paint. Marist players dished out 20 assists, the sixteenth time they have accomplished the feat.
The Red Foxes will head to Hamden, Connecticut where they look to win at Quinnipiac for the first time since 2013. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Fairfield struggled to a 17-for-51 mark from the floor. They made eight-of-25 three-pointers and 14 turnovers against only nine assists.
Edited by David Connelly