Marist completed the sweep of I-87 rival Siena with a 60-44 win on Sunday afternoon. The victory was the sixth straight for the Red Foxes and put them three wins ahead of second-place Quinnipiac in the race for the one-seed in the MAAC Tournament.
“You’ve got to give credit to Siena for hanging tough today,” Marist Head Coach Brian Giorgis said after the game. “They did a nice job changing their defense in the middle of possessions, and we didn’t adjust until midway through the fourth quarter.”
Marist was up by as much as 20 in the first half but had its lead cut to single-digits on multiple occasions.
“This year, anyone can beat anyone in this league,” Giorgis continued. “Last year, it was pretty much us and Rider. This year, there aren’t any days off. Siena is going to be dangerous if they get to Atlantic City, and it looks like we might play them.”
Leading 47-38 with under seven minutes remaining, Kendall Krick drew a foul, made a layup, and finished the three-point to extend the lead to 12. On the next Red Foxes possession, she drained a three, and on the trip after that, her childhood friend Sarah Barcello joined the fun with a triple that made it 56-39 with five minutes left. The Arizona natives provided the finishing spark for the visiting squad.
“Our Arizona girls came up big today,” Giorgis said of Krick and Barcello. “They had a nice second-half and came through with some threes in the fourth quarter. I thought we were resilient when they cut the lead to single-digits.”
Marist (14-2, 12-2 in the MAAC) shot 40 percent from the field and made five-of-17 three-point attempts. The team turned in another solid performance from the foul line, going 11-for-13.
Like yesterday’s game, the Red Foxes dominated down low, outscoring the Saints 30-18 in the paint and 16-1 in second-chance points. They won the rebounding battle 36-32.
Barcello had a team-high 14 points and made two-of-three from deep.
Willow Duffell was right behind, notching her fourth double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Krick and Allie Best each had eight, and Caitlin Weimar had seven points and five rebounds after dominating the glass on Saturday.
Freshman forward Zaria Demember-Shazer was in street clothes after rolling her ankle on Saturday and did not play.
“She was limping on the court yesterday, and I just wanted to give her a few days off,” Giorgis said.
Siena (2-5, same conference record) shot 34 percent from the floor after a frigid start. It was their second consecutive 44-point output.
Ashley Williamson scored a game-high 15 in the loss. LaLa Watts was the only other Siena player in double-figures 13 points.
After Watts tied things at 2 with a layup in the first minute of the game, the Saints would not score until the next quarter. Despite missing their first five perimeter shots of the game, Marist reeled off 18 consecutive points thanks to repeated inside scoring from Duffell, Weimar, and Barcello, which helped the Red Foxes to lead 20-2 after the opening quarter.
Without Isis Young, the conference’s leading scorer, for the second straight afternoon, Siena either missed a shot or turned the ball over on 17 consecutive possessions.
Watts broke her team’s ten-minute scoring drought with another score from the paint, but Best helped stretch Marist’s lead with a three that made it 26-6. The senior point guard was at it again, draining another perimeter shot that gave the Red Foxes a 30-11 advantage with just under four minutes left in the half.
From there, Siena finally began to warm up on offense. A Rayshel Brown layup before the buzzer capped a 9-4 Saints run going into the locker room. After the torrid start, Marist still enjoyed a 34-20 lead at the break.
After starting the game three-for-20 from the floor, Siena made five of its last 10 attempts before halftime and continued to make shots in the third quarter.
Williamson nailed a three to punctuate an 11-3 run to start the half, and the Saints were within six at 37-31. It looked like the Red Foxes could have used a timeout, but Giorgis let his team play.
Kennedy broke a four-minute scoring drought with a layup off a Weimar offensive rebound, and the lead eventually grew back to 12. Margo Peterson hit a jumper for Siena to make it 43-33 going into the last ten minutes.
Amari Anthony hit a long-range jumper to cut the Marist lead to 43-36, but the Red Foxes responded with the next four points to make it an 11-point game with 7:19 left.
Marist will face another in-state rival when they travel to New Rochelle for a series against Iona. The first game is scheduled for next Saturday, February 20 with tip-off at 2 p.m.
Edited by Mackenzie Meaney
Photo by Marist Athletics