A bad week got a whole lot worse for Marist women’s basketball on Saturday afternoon in Buffalo. The Red Foxes fell to Canisius 65-61 for their sixth straight loss of the season.
It was the first time in Brian Giorgis’ tenure that his team failed to get a win in the annual Buffalo road trip. Marist is 1-10 away from the McCann Center this season. The Red Foxes haven’t been this far under .500 since Giorgis took over in 2002.
The Griffins and the Red Foxes are both young teams with limited rosters. First-year Canisius coach Sahar Nusseibeh inherited a difficult situation when she took the job in the summer. The Griffins are a project that will take a few years to rebuild. Marist, on the other hand, is in the midst of its worst season of the Giorgis era.
Canisius came into the game at 3-20 overall and 1-13 in the MAAC. The Griffins recently pushed league-leading Fairfield to overtime and let a lead against Monmouth slip away in the fourth quarter on Thursday. This time, they stepped up when it mattered.
The Red Foxes grabbed control early in the game but struggled to put sufficient distance between themselves and their hosts. The Griffins took their first lead of the game after Athina Lexa drained a three to make it 52-50 with 4:28 left in the game.
Trinasia Kennedy hit a long two to tie things on the next possession, but the Griffins got the lead back after Erika Joseph hit a three with 3:08 left. The Red Foxes committed the cardinal sin of letting a lesser team hang around, and Canisius wanted dearly to make them pay.
After another Joseph score made it 58-55 with less than two minutes left, Anabel Ellison got her team back on top with two free throws and a layup to put the Red Foxes up 59-58 with 50 seconds left.
With the Red Foxes up 61-60 with 21 seconds left, Ellison found herself at the foul line again. This time, she missed both, allowing the Griffins a reprieve.
A rebounding foul on Zaria Shazer sent Rhay Porter to the line with a chance to put the Griffins up with 12 seconds left. Porter was seven-of-27 from the line on the season, but her two line drive shots rattled in to make it 62-61.
Trinasia Kennedy got the ball out of a timeout, drove in, took a good deal of contact, and failed to finish. She was visibly upset with the no-call.
Canisius made three-of-four foul shots in the final few seconds and Marist’s hopes ended with a Julianna Bonilla turnover with five seconds left.
It was a scrappy, hard-fought game with neither team shooting better than 35 percent. Marist shot 23-of-66 from the field and three-of-15 from distance. The Red Foxes held the lead for 35 minutes or 88 percent of the game.
Ellison had another strong game, setting a new career-high with 19 points. She went 7-of-11 from the foul line with those two late misses proving crucial. Kennedy and Kendall Krick each had 13 in the loss.
The Griffins won despite shooting 8-for-31 from the three-point line. Lexa had a career-high 26 points to help her team get over the hump.
The Red Foxes went up 24-11 early in the second quarter after Kennedy and Ellison each finished conventional three-point plays. Marist could have extended its lead, but a dry spell on offense allowed the Griffins to stay around. The Red Foxes led 30-23 at the half.
Canisius scored the last five points of the first half and continued its run when the teams came out of the locker room, tying the game at 30 after a long three from Dani Haskell to cap a 12-0 run. The Red Foxes responded with seven in a row, taking a 37-30 lead after Julianna Bonilla hit a three.
Marist led 44-39 after three quarters.
The Red Foxes return home for a game with Saint Peter’s on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Edited by Connor Kurpat
Image from Marist Athletics