Despite not having played in 18 days, it was more of the same for Marist Women’s Basketball in a 71-55 win over Saint Peter’s on Thursday evening inside the McCann Center. The victory was the Red Foxes’ seventh in a row and their fifteenth consecutive triumph in their home dwelling.
“This was a very good win for us against a team that came in very hot off a couple of wins against Siena,” Marist Head Coach Brian Giorgis said after the game. “I thought we did a great job defensively in the middle quarters only giving up 19 points. We gave up too many offensive rebounds but Kendall [Krick] and Trinasia Kennedy did a great job against their scorers.”
Players on both teams wore masks on the court as a precaution for the upcoming MAAC Tournament in which Marist has already clinched the one-seed.
“Both administrations wanted to go the extra step to make sure the teams tested negative up until Atlantic City,” Giorgis said. “Both teams haven’t had anyone test positive yet, but we really want to do as much as we can to try to keep our players safe.”
“It was definitely different,” senior Willow Duffell added about playing in masks. “We had practiced for a few days, but I was out of breath in the first quarter. Eventually, the adrenaline kicked and it was alright.”
The Red Foxes (15-2, 13-2 in the MAAC) shot 27-for-49 (55 percent) from the field and four-for-seven from long range. The team struggled from the free-throw line, going 13-for-21 (61 percent), and surrendered a whopping 24 offensive rebounds to the Peacocks.
“We ran our offense pretty well but some of our young kids struggled from the free-throw line,” Giorgis continued. “I’m really proud of the team coming off 18 days of not playing. I thought they gave a really nice effort.”
Marist did not struggle against Saint Peter’s pressure defense but still finished the game with 16 turnovers.
Trinasia Kennedy had a game-high 14 points but was just one of the four Red Foxes in double figures. Allie Best had 11, Sarah Barcello added 10, and Duffell notched her fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds in her penultimate home game.
“Today was bittersweet for sure,” Duffell continued. “Allie and I have been through so much, the team and coaching staff have been amazing, and we just want to end with a couple more W’s.”
Freshman forward Caitlin Weimar injured her right knee on a play during the first quarter and did not play in the second half.
After the game, Giorgis said her status was “up in the air.”
Saint Peter’s (10-14, 9-9 in the MAAC) struggled with foul trouble and only shot 31 percent from the floor and just four-of-21 from three.
Two of their top three scorers, Taiah Thornton and Ajia James each had difficulty staying on the floor, but both managed double-digit scoring nights in limited action, especially for James who only logged 18 minutes. Kendrea Williams was the third Peacock in double-figures, tying James with 11.
Saint Peter’s has the opportunity to clinch the three-seed with a win tomorrow.
Marist trailed 16-14 after the first quarter but Saint Peter’s offense began to fizzle once Thornton and James were each forced to the bench with two first-half fouls. The Peacocks endured a five-and-a-half-minute scoring drought which allowed the Red Foxes to take a 23-16 lead after a Kennedy three-point play.
Thornton re-entered the game and Saint Peter’s scored on the subsequent possession to stop the bleeding, but another Kennedy three-point play with just over a minute left in the half gave Marist a 32-25 lead at the break.
Despite Weimar’s absence in the second half, the Red Foxes continued to click on both sides of the ball. Best got a fortunate roll on a mid-range jumper and then drove to the basket for an easy layup that put her team up 38-27 with 6:03 left in the third quarter. Both Thornton and James accrued third fouls for the Peacocks, who faced another lengthy scoring drought without two of its best offensive players in the mix.
Marist had its struggles on offense too, but the senior point guard was at it again, hitting a three that made it 41-29. Duffell and Zaria Demember-Shazer each scored inside, and the Red Foxes led 49-35 after a quarter that saw the teams combine for 13 turnovers.
Duffell extinguished any real hopes of a Saint Peter’s comeback early in the fourth, hitting a three to make it 54-37 with 8:37 left. Kennedy continued her strong game with a three, and Sam Bailey and Anabel Ellison got into the scoring column to stretch the lead to 64-45 with 4:27 left. Erin Fox joined the fun in the closing seconds with a three-point play that provided the final margin.
The teams will play the second leg of the two-game series tomorrow in McCann. Tip-off for what will likely be the final home game in the careers of Best and Duffell is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Edited by Mackenzie Meaney