Marist returned to its winning ways with a 67-50 win over Vermont on Sunday at the McCann Arena. It was another reunion game for Marist head coach Brian Giorgis, but this time, the teacher prevailed.
“It was a tremendous win against a really good team,” Giorgis said. “I’m really pleased with how we bounced back from Friday’s game. We missed a lot of shots there, but we made a lot of shots today. I thought we pushed the ball well, and I thought we shared it well too.”
It felt like 2007, as Meg Dahlman returned as an honorary coach for Marist and Shannon Minter did the same for Vermont. Alisa Kresge was the member of the Sweet 16 team that garnered the most attention as she led the Catamounts into battle.
“It’s nice to be home but tough when everyone’s rooting against you,” she said. “I love being home and seeing the Red Fox family. This is a special place.”
Kresge played point guard at Marist from 2003 to 2007 and is the program’s all-time assist leader. After a stint as an assistant coach at her alma mater she left for Vermont, becoming the head coach in 2019. She saw in Marist what she wanted her team to be.
“This is what we’re trying to be,” Kresge said. “We want to be a team that can share the ball and has everyone make shots. I don’t think we had our best performance today. Things just weren’t going our way, and we fell back on our heels early.”
While Giorgis is proud of his former player, coaching against her wasn’t any different than Friday night’s game.
“It all feels the same,” he said. “We run a lot of the same stuff, and we know they’re not going to surprise us, and we’re not going to surprise them. It was all going to come down to execution and good defense, and we had more of that today.”
The Red Foxes needed more contributions from its supporting cast after Kiara Fisher and Zaria Shazer combined for 75 percent of Marist’s points in the loss to American on Friday. Fisher was up to her old tricks, but it was still a more balanced attack, with every starter scoring at least five points.
Fisher led all scorers with 17 points and added eight assists. She finished an economical eight-of-10 from the floor and took better care of the ball, turning it over just twice compared to five times against American.
“I think I made better decisions on offense today,” Fisher said. “I didn’t try to force it as much, and things were more open today.”
She played an integral part in Marist’s scintillating 17-for-29 from the field in the first half.
Fisher got to the hoop early and often and made two consecutive nifty assists to help the Red Foxes extend their lead to 25-11 early in the second quarter. Near the end of the half, she sunk a three that gave her team a 38-20 lead heading into the locker room.
Zaria Shazer nearly had her third straight double-double of the season by halftime, and once again stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Emma Wax and Anabel Ellison each notched new career-highs with 10 and eight points, respectively. Kendall Krick, Sam Bailey, and Julianna Bonilla all had five, and freshman Catie Cunningham picked up the first four points of her career.
Marist (2-1) shot 29-for-63 from the floor and eight-of-20 from three. They won the rebounding battle for the first time this season and turned the ball over 14 times compared to 13 assists.
Vermont’s best player, Anna Olson, was a non-factor after logging all 45 minutes of her team’s overtime loss against American on Saturday. She finished with six points in 23 minutes. Jane Mccauley led the Catamounts with 13.
Vermont (1-2) came out flat, like a team that played the day before sometimes does. They shot 16-of-57 from the field, with 11 of those makes coming from beyond the arc on 35 attempts.
Marist continued to separate itself from the Catamounts in the opening minutes of the second half. Triples from Ellison, Krick, and Bonilla contributed to a 13-3 run that stretched the home team’s lead to 53-28 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
Mccauley dragged the Catamounts back into shouting distance with twelve straight points, all on threes, to make it 55-40 with nine minutes left in the game. Fisher promptly restored order, scoring six quick points as part of a 9-2 run that boosted Marist’s lead to 64-42 with less than five minutes left.
The Red Foxes will travel out west to play Arizona and Arizona State next weekend, with it being a homecoming for Krick and Barcello, who both reside in Chandler, Arizona. Marist will play last year’s national runner-up Arizona at 8:30 p.m. on Friday.
Edited by Connor Kurpat
Photo by Luke Sassa