This weekend, the Marist Red Foxes look to face the Canisius Golden Griffins in back-to-back games after coming off a big win in their season opener against the Army Black Knights. Canisius, on the other hand, looks to bounce back from a forty-two-point loss against the University of Buffalo.
Who, What, When, and Where?
Teams: Canisius (0-1, 0-0 MAAC) vs Marist (1-0, 0-0 MAAC)
Dates: Friday, December 11 and Saturday, December 12, both at 5 p.m.
Location: McCann Arena, Poughkeepsie, NY
TV: ESPN3 (Friday), ESPN+ (Saturday)
Series History: Marist leads 40-14
Current Streak: Marist has won nine games in a row against Canisius, and 23 of the last 24
Last Game: The Red Foxes prevailed 86-72 over the Golden Griffins in McCann on February 13
Red Foxes’ Keys to Victory:
Some people may have had concerns about Marist’s ability to compete this year, as they lost star players like Rebekah Hand and Alana Gilmer, who graduated in 2020. Marist quickly quieted these concerns with a great game against Army who had already beaten the Iona and Rider, two of Marist’s MAAC opponents. If the Red Foxes hope to win again over the weekend, then they are going to have to get contributions from the bench and play clean basketball in the paint.
In last week’s game, Marist’s bench went toe-to-toe with Army’s, with both teams scoring 24 points off the bench. If this type of productivity continues, then Marist will have a decided edge against Canisius’ weak bench group, who only managed two points against Buffalo, whose reserves scored 46.
Marist’s ability to play in the paint should also give them another edge in both matchups against the Griffins. Last week, Marist scored a whopping 36 points in the paint and nabbed 34 total rebounds. They also played stellar defense down low, blocking four shots and surrendering only twelve points. Against Buffalo, Canisius mirrored Marist’s production in the paint in all of the wrong ways. In their game, the Griffins only scored 12 points in the paint while allowing Buffalo to score 50 paint points and 21 offensive rebounds. If Marist can effectively attack this weak point, then they should have no problem defeating their rival from Western New York.
Red Fox to Watch:
Keep your eye on freshman Caitlin Weimar this game, who will be a difference-maker in these two games. She was named the MAAC Rookie of the Week after her spectacular debut against Army, where she recorded 12 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. Weimar could play an even better game against Canisius, exposing it’s less than stellar interior defense and offense. I’m going as far as to say that we could potentially see a double-double from the rookie in one of these games.
Golden Griffins’ Keys to Victory:
If Canisius hopes to beat this Marist team, then they are going to have to improve, well, everything. They really had a rough showing in their first game against Buffalo, where they lost by 42 points and looked out of sync on both sides of the ball.
To bounce back, they will have to work on taking better shots and making them. Against Buffalo, they shot a horrendous 31.4% from the field and 33.3% on free throws. They’ll also have to work on spreading out the ball amongst teammates, as freshman guard Dani Haskell accounted for a third of the team’s shots last game with 14. Getting the ball to junior forward Kayla Jackson and junior guard Erika Joseph more often could potentially add a lot more points for Canisius while simultaneously spreading out the opposing defense.
Defensively, Canisius has to do a better job in the paint. As previously mentioned, they were pummeled by Buffalo in their last game, surrendering 50 points in the paint. Their ability to rebound the ball was pretty atrocious as well, allowing Buffalo to offensively rebound the ball 21 times and score 26 second-chance points. If Canisius wants to keep up with Marist’s high-powered offense, they are going to have to play a much tighter and efficient form of defense.
Golden Griffins to Watch:
There are two players from Canisius to keep a lookout for on the court this weekend. The first is Dani Haskell, who played for 38 minutes against Buffalo. As was mentioned, Haskell took a third of the team’s shots in that time, barely coming off the floor. 11 of those 14 shots were three-pointers and only four of them fell. If Haskell can find a way to either take or make better shots from the perimeter, then that could boost the Griffins’ chances of winning. Also, pay attention to ball movement during the game. Let’s see if other members of Canisius’ starting five get looks or if it remains the Dani Haskell Show.
The other Griffin to watch is Kayla Jackson. She played for around 25 minutes last game, going 4-5 from the floor with 10 points, and leading the team with five rebounds. Jackson was fouled plenty of times last game, but failed to convert the fouls to points at the free-throw line, shooting 2-7. If Jackson can keep scoring points and find a way to be more efficient at the stripe, she could be the difference-maker that Canisius needs in the paint.
I see both games going Marist’s way. The Red Foxes looked really good against Army, and a lot of their players and strengths match up well against the weaknesses of Canisius. Unless Canisius cleans up what went wrong last game, I can’t see them being able to go blow-for-blow with coach Brian Giorgis and the revamped Red Foxes.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane & Mackenzie Meaney
Photo By Marist Athletics