It took until the final week of January, but Marist women’s basketball finally had its first winning streak of the season. The Red Foxes defeated Canisius 57-44 on Monday evening in the McCann Center to move to a record of 4-4 in MAAC play.
Marist never trailed in the game and combined to outscore the Golden Griffins 30-11 in the first and fourth quarters, and it did enough in between to walk away with its sixth win of the season.
The game against the Griffins was the type of contest past Marist teams would win without breaking a sweat, the kind of game where the Red Foxes needed to hold serve at home. This year’s team is the least experienced squad Brian Giorgis has had in some time, but they faced an equally young team in Canisius, who came in on an 11-game losing streak.
The triumph boosted the Red Foxes into a tie for sixth-place with Manhattan in the league standings. The conference race will be a congested, unpredictable affair, but if Marist can stay in the top six, it will mean a first-round bye in Atlantic City.
The Red Foxes were able to take care of business without starting point guard Kiara Fisher, who was not available due to a shoulder injury. Fisher, who normally sports a brace on her right shoulder, received medical treatment in that area after coming out of Saturday’s win against Niagara. Her status for Thursday’s game against Fairfield is not yet known.
Anabel Ellison filled in for her fellow sophomore and finished with eight points, five rebounds, and three assists. She was a perfect two-of-two from the field (both threes) but struggled to a two-of-six mark from the foul line.
Trinasia Kennedy led Marist with 15 points and added four assists. Zaria Shazer, fresh off a career night on Saturday, contributed 14 but also shot two-of-six from the charity stripe. As a team, the Red Foxes only shot eight-of-18 from the free-throw line.
It wasn’t a scorching effort from the field, but it also wasn’t a frigid performance that fans have been accustomed to seeing this season. Marist shot 22-of-55 (40 percent) from the floor and five-of-16 from three-point range.
Marist also took care of the ball, finishing with 10 turnovers compared to 15 assists. It was just the third instance where the Red Foxes finished with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Red Foxes clamped down on the Griffins, holding them to 32 percent from the field and forcing 16 giveaways. Marist was also able to win the rebounding margin 41-33.
Shaunae Brown had 12 points to lead Canisius (2-15, 0-8 in the MAAC). Marist limited Griffins’ standout Dani Haskell to 10 points on four-of-seven shooting.
The Red Foxes jumped out to a lead on the first possession and never relinquished control. Marist scored the first seven points of the game and held Canisius to two-of-12 shooting in the first quarter to take a 16-5 advantage after 10 minutes.
The Griffins found their footing while Marist sputtered for much of the second quarter. Hot shooting enabled Canisius to come within two after Ella Vaatanen drained a three to make it 25-23 with 3:08 left in the half. Marist only made one shot in the final three minutes of the half, but took a 27-24 edge into the locker room.
A steal and layup from Catie Cunningham stretched the lead back to 35-26 midway through the third. Two threes from Brown brought the Griffins back to within a possession, but an answer from Kennedy helped Marist lead 43-38 with 10 minutes left.
The Red Foxes staked their claim early in the fourth with two layups from Sam Bailey and a three from Ellison made it 50-38 with 7:02 left. The defense made sure Canisius stayed a safe distance behind, with the Griffs missing 11-of-13 from the field and Marist coasting away to victory.
After playing its third game in five days, Marist will have another quick turnaround as it prepares to host MAAC-leading Fairfield. The Stags earned a 57-52 win when the teams met in December and will go for the regular-season sweep at 7 p.m. on Thursday in McCann.
Edited by Connor Kurpat
Image from Marist Athletics