Marist’s season came to an end on Monday night with a 74-43 loss to the University of Louisville in the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The Red Foxes led for the first 17 minutes of the game before succumbing to the Cardinals’ pressure defense and high-flying offense. After falling behind by nine early in the second quarter, Louisville finished the game on a 62-22 run.
“Obviously, we lost to a great team today,” Marist Head Coach Brian Giorgis said after the game. “They’re seeded second for a reason. We gave them a run for their money in the first half, but we started sliding away in the last few minutes of the first half, and then they really started hitting shots from all over the place.”
Marist (18-4) finished 13-for-56 (23 percent) from the field and 12-of-20 from the foul line, by far their worst output of the season. The Red Foxes only made four shots in the second half and turned the ball over a staggering 22 times. The 43 points were their lowest offensive output of the season.
“We didn’t have good movement, and we needed to come to the ball (to break the press), which we didn’t do,” Giorgis said. “We made some bad passes, and other times we made some poor reads. We’re just not used to their quickness and their length and athleticism, and I think that hurt us.”
In a game where no Marist player scored in double-digits, Junior Sarah Barcello had a team-high eight points on two-of-12 shooting from the floor. After the game, Giorgis revealed that she dislocated her shoulder twice in the MAAC Tournament and did not practice yesterday.
In their final games in red and white, Seniors Allie Best and Willow Duffell scored seven and six points, respectively.
“I’m going to remember my teammates,” Duffell, one of the captains this season said after the loss. “Just how awesome they are and how much of a family we are together. I’m going to miss them and the memories we’ve made.”
“I’ve been coaching for almost 40 years, and they are two of the best captains I’ve ever had,” Giorgis said of his seniors.
Sophomore Trinasia Kennedy took a blow to the head in the first half and was not the same afterward, finishing with six points. Freshman Caitlin Weimar added five to go along with eight rebounds.
“In the locker room, I told these kids there was no way they could disappoint me,” Giorgis added. “We could have lost by 60, and they wouldn’t disappoint me. With what we’ve been through this year, and what we’ve gotten out of it, there’s no way.”
Louisville (24-3) shot 44 percent from the floor after a cold start. The Cardinals connected on 10-of-30 shots from beyond the arc and made all eight of their free throws. Surprisingly, they lost the rebounding battle 41-39 to the smaller Red Foxes.
Freshman Hailey Van Lith led all scorers with 17 points, and All-American Dana Evans added 15 in the win.
The Red Foxes started about as well as any reasonable person could have hoped. Threes from Best and Kennedy helped Marist to an 8-2 run out of the gate. The Cardinals missed 11 of their first 15 shots and could not press home their advantage on the glass, and trailed 15-12 after the first quarter.
Back-to-back long-range shots from Kennedy and Barcello brought Red Fox fans out of their seats and made it 21-12 with 8:16 left in the first half. For a time, the Marist faithful truly believed something crazy could happen.
Then, reality set in.
Louisville showed pressure from the tip, and it finally began to pay off. The Red Foxes gave the ball away eight times in the last five-and-a-half minutes of the half and saw their lead slip away. Evans cut the Marist lead to 21-19 with five minutes left, and Van Lith tied things at 23 with a layup off a series of offensive rebounds shortly after.
The Cardinals took a lead they would not relinquish after junior guard Mykasa Robinson completed a three-point play to make it 26-23 with just over two minutes in the half. Louisville took a 29-24 lead into the breaking, ending the first twenty minutes on a 17-3 run.
Out of the locker room, Barcello cut the deficit to 29-27 with a three, but from there, it was all Cardinals. The Red Foxes continued to struggle against the press, and Louisville continued to extend the lead. The Cardinals made Marist pay for all the turnovers, reeling off a 22-2 run over a five-minute stretch to take control of the game.
Louisville hit four-of-seven three-pointers in the third and led 55-33 with ten minutes remaining. The Red Foxes only managed a one-of-12 shooting effort in the quarter and gave the ball away eight more times.
A Weimar putback early in the fourth broke a nine-minute Marist scoring drought dating back to the early second half. Emma Wax hit a three to bring the deficit back to 22 points, but the Red Foxes could not get closer. The Cardinals continued to extend the lead until the very end. Marist could say it scored the first and last points of the game after sophomore Julie Bonilla hit a free-throw with 30 seconds left.
The Red Foxes will look forward to a promising 2021-22 season while Louisville advances to take on number seven Northwestern on Tuesday.
Edited by Mackenzie Meaney
Photo by Marist Athletics