Over 2,000 miles away from its campus and facing last season’s national runner-up in the most hostile environment they will see all year, Marist was up against it. The Red Foxes fell to 11th-ranked Arizona in a 78-36 rout on Friday night in the McHale Center in Tucson.
Marist hung tough early against a bigger, more talented team, but the Wildcats were just too much. Arizona’s roster had five players six-foot-three or taller. The Red Foxes had one (McKenna Rife) who did not play meaningful minutes.
The Wildcats’ defense came into the game allowing only 47 per points game. They stifled Marist inside and out, giving up only 24 points after the first quarter.
Much like the Louisville game from last season’s NCAA Tournament, the Red Foxes started strong. Kendall Krick gave Marist a 9-8 lead five minutes in, and Emma Wax swished a long two to beat the buzzer and give the Red Foxes a 14-12 edge after the first 10 minutes.
Then, reality kicked in.
Arizona found some separation in the second quarter, using an 8-0 run to lead 24-16 with five minutes left in the first half. Marist cut it to 24-20 after a home run pass from Wax found Krick for an easy layup against Arizona’s press, but the Wildcats asserted themselves once more to take a 32-22 lead to halftime.
Then, things got away. Quickly.
Marist’s offense continued to sputter, and Arizona continued to build its lead. Sam Thomas hit two threes as part of a 13-1 run that extended the home team’s lead to 45-25 midway through the third quarter. Bendu Yeaney added two more triples as the Wildcats continued to pour it on. The Red Foxes only scored five points in the quarter, and Arizona led 58-27 after the third stanza.
It was a homecoming for Krick, the senior guard who is a native of Chandler, Arizona, about 100 miles away from Tucson. She finished with a team-high eight points on four-of-six shooting.
Her high school teammate Sarah Barcello missed the game, as she continues to recover from off-season surgery. Trinasia Kennedy made the trip but also did not play.
Kiara Fisher knocked down a step-back three early in the game, but it was one of her few highlights on the evening. The triple accounted for her only points of the night, as she struggled to a one-of-nine shooting performance in 30 minutes.
Zaria Shazer shot an identical mark to her teammate from Elmira. She had five points and only two rebounds. It was the first time this season she failed to record a double-double.
The Red Foxes (2-2) shot 40 percent from the floor in the first quarter but fell off drastically afterward. Marist shot just 14-for-55 (26 percent) on the night. It could only make three-of-19 threes and five-of-eight foul shots.
They once again struggled to play a clean game on offense, finishing with 16 turnovers against only seven assists.
Thomas had 14 points for the Wildcats (4-0), finishing five-of-eight from the field and two-of-four from three. Yeaney added 11, and Lauren Ware had nine. Arizona shot 31-for-66 from the floor and 11-of-24 from beyond the arc. They outrebounded Marist ()-() and swatted ten shots on the evening.
Marist will complete its Arizona swing on Sunday when it heads to Tempe to take on Arizona State. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Photo from Luke Sassa