Coming off of a drubbing at the hands of Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, Marist women’s basketball fans were left to wonder how much more their team could fall. The answer after Thursday’s home game against Siena: even further.
The until-recently-winless Saints ran away with a 69-53 win that stunned nearly everyone in the McCann Center. Everyone who wasn’t in green and gold that is.
“We just had an atrocious second half,” Marist head coach Brian Giorgis said after the loss. “They had some players step up and make shots and we didn’t.”
The Saints started the season with 10 consecutive losses before picking up their first win on Monday at Iona. Like the game in New Rochelle, Siena finished strong.
As the fourth quarter continued to tick away, the energy from the visiting and home benches told the story. The Siena sideline roared every time the Saints scored or got a stop. In contrast, Marist’s bench was filled with blank stares and frustration.
“I think I just did a horrendous job of coaching,” Giorgis added. “(Siena) had a run where they went from down five to up five, and we just couldn’t stop the bleeding. We couldn’t stop them on defense, and we couldn’t execute when we had the ball.”
Siena (2-10, 2-2 in the MAAC) grabbed a 50-40 lead with 7:48 left in the game after trailing by ten early in the second quarter. Marist eventually came within five after Trinasia Kennedy split a pair of foul shots with 5:43 left. Then came a vicious combination from the visitors.
Margo Peterson hit her fourth triple of the game to extend Siena’s lead to 59-51 a minute later. Instead of a comeback, the Red Foxes faltered and the Saints scored the next eight points, with Peterson striking once again to make it 67-51 in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
As all this happened, McCann became a morgue. The Red Foxes weren’t coming back to life in this one.
Marist only converted two-of-16 attempts from beyond the arc and turned the ball over 19 times. The Red Foxes also failed to step up on the defensive end. Like the Manhattan game, Siena shot better as the game went on, making 71 percent of their shots in the final 10 minutes.
Marist once again struggled to find balance, not getting much help from its supporting cast. Zaria Shazer had 13 points and eight rebounds, while Kiara Fisher and Trinasia Kennedy each had nine points.
“The best thing we can do is control what we can control, and that’s playing defense, hard,” Kennedy said. “Sometimes we get out of that groove of playing hard defensively when we’re not scoring, and it bites us.”
Julianna Bonilla came off the bench to add nine, but other than that, no Marist player had more than four. Overall, the Red Foxes (3-9, 1-3 in the MAAC) shot 42 percent from the floor on the night.
After missing over a month with separate injuries to both ankles, Anabel Ellison made her return to the lineup but failed to score in 19 minutes of action. Unfortunately, as one guard returned, another could not play. Emma Wax did not dress for the game and sported a boot on her right foot. She is not expected to miss much time.
Rayshel Brown was scoreless at the half but hit tough shot after tough shot in the second half. She had 16 points to lead all scorers. Peterson added 15, all on threes.
Marist had early success as Siena switched defenses in the early going. The Red Foxes racked up seven assists in the first 12 minutes and took a 27-17 lead with 6:11 left in the first half. From there, Marist only scored an abysmal two points for the rest of the half. The looks were there, but the shots just didn’t fall.
Everything ground to a halt on the offensive end, with the Red Foxes committing eight turnovers in the second quarter, compared to just five field goals. If Siena were any better on offense, they could’ve come closer, but a three from Peterson drew the Saints to within 29-24 at the break.
The Saints turned their trickle of momentum into a downpour to open the second half. They hit two threes as part of an 8-0 run, which gave them a 32-29 edge a minute-and-a-half into the second 20 minutes. The Red Foxes emerged to tie things at 38 a few minutes later, but trailed 43-40 at the end of the third quarter.
The Red Foxes will be back in action on Saturday night when they host Monmouth. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Edited by Connor Kurpat
Image from Marist Athletics