After a tough two-game Arizona road trip, Marist dropped its third straight game, this time a 56-50 decision to Central Michigan at the relatively quiet McCann Center on Sunday afternoon.
It is the first time the Red Foxes have lost three consecutive games since November 2017.
“It was a tough loss, a disappointing loss because we know that we can play better than we did,” Marist head coach Brian Giorgis said after the game. “The biggest difference was that when it came down to it, they made shots, and we didn’t.”
The Red Foxes trailed by six entering the fourth quarter, but quickly cut it to 46-45 with seven minutes left after Julianna Bonilla and Erin Fox scored. The Red Foxes had the momentum but could not climb the hump due to poor offensive execution, and the Chippewas had a 52-47 lead with under 90 seconds left.
Kendall Krick hit a three to make it 52-50 with just over a minute left, but committed a cheap foul on the next possession that gave Central Michigan more time to work with.
CMU’s Molly Davis hit a runner to make it 54-50 with 27 seconds left. Fox missed a three on the subsequent possession and Krick and Kiara Fisher, chasing the ball and the game, collided with one another, helping to seal Marist’s fate.
Giorgis held usual starters Fisher, Zaria Shazer, and Anabel Ellison out for the first five minutes of the game. Marist failed to register any points in the five minutes before they checked in.
“We wanted to try something different,” Giorgis said, shaking his head. “We wanted to see if it would give us a spark.” After that, he trailed off.
Shazer had a team-high 11 for the Red Foxes, her fifth double-figure scoring performance in six games. She added nine rebounds, falling just short of her fourth double-double of the season.
Erin Fox, one of the surprise starters, finished with a career-high nine points in 20 minutes of action. Fisher, off a disappointing two games in the Southwest, continued to struggle, shooting two-of-ten from the floor and turning the ball over four times.
Marist (2-4) shot just 33 percent from the field and beyond the arc, and 11-of-17 (65 percent) from the foul line. Once again, they struggled to convert around the hoop, making only 10 of 26 layup attempts. They were also outrebounded for the fifth time in six games. CMU dominated the glass with a 46-31 margin.
“A number of the late shots they made came off second chances and us not being where we’re supposed to be,” Giorgis said. “We’ve got to be better.”
Central Michigan’s Davis, off a 32-point outing at Northeastern on Friday, had a game-high 21. She came into the game three-for-21 from beyond the arc but managed to equal her season total with three triples on the day. She shot a perfect six-of-six from the free-throw line.
The Chippewas (2-3) also shot 33 percent from the field, but attempted seven more shots than Marist and parlayed a whopping 17 offensive rebounds into 11 second-chance points. Not a lot, but enough to make an impact in such a close game.
Ellison rolled her right ankle at the end of the first half and did not return to the game. She needed to be helped off the court and struggled to put any pressure on her injured foot. She finished with two points in 10 minutes of action.
Giorgis declined to offer an update on her status going forward.
If she were to miss an extended amount of time, it would leave the Red Foxes even thinner at guard, as Trinasia Kennedy and Sarah Barcello remain sidelined.
The first half was an even affair, with neither team taking more than a five-point lead. Fox hit a three that tied the game at 28 going into halftime. Both teams had their struggles from deep, combining to shoot just 20 percent from long range in the first half.
Perhaps deflated by Ellison’s injury, Marist came out flat to start the second half. The Chippewas scored the first nine points of the third quarter to take a 37-28 lead. The Red Foxes edged back to a 41-37 deficit, but five straight from Davis restored the visitors’ advantage to nine with 90 seconds left in the period. Fox hit her second three of the game to make it 46-40 going into the fourth.
Marist will be back in action on Wednesday night when they travel to face Lafayette. Tip-off against the Leopards is set for 7 p.m.
Edited by Connor Kurpat
Photo from Marist Athletics