Marist women’s basketball came away with a sorely-needed 51-41 win over Saint Peter’s at the McCann Center on Thursday Night. With the victory, the Red Foxes snapped their second six-game losing streak of the season.
It took several tries, but Marist head coach Brian Giorgis finally has his 450th career win at the college level. He is now the only known coach to have won 450 games in both high school (Lourdes) and college.
“Couldn’t have asked for a better win for number 450,” Giorgis said. “We did a great job on the defensive end, and the kids really saw today that if you sell out on the scouting report, good things happen. The scout didn’t change from last time to this time. This time, they executed and caused all sorts of trouble.”
The story of the game was defense, defense, defense, and of course, some bad offense. The Red Foxes forced the Peacocks into 29 turnovers and held them to 31 percent shooting when they could get through a possession.
Marist actually shot worse than their visitors, but they turned the ball over 15 fewer times and shot 22-of-28 from the free-throw line compared to a four-of-nine mark from Saint Peter’s.
Marist scored 43 percent of its points from the foul line and made just 13 field goals, but as they say, a win is a win.
Of course, Marist couldn’t make it that easy on itself. The Red Foxes never led by more than ten until the very end of the game and led by just two points at 35-33 after the third quarter.
It seemed like the Red Foxes were going to blow another lead, similar to the Canisius game, but the defense put the clamps down on the visitors. Actually, suffocated is probably the better word. The Peacocks got very few clean looks and repeatedly had to force up shots at the end of the 30-second clock.
Saint Peter’s finally scored with 3:42 left to make it a 41-35 game. Marist had many opportunities to make the Peacocks pay, but in a game like this, you knew it wasn’t going to be that easy.
It took nearly two minutes for either team to score again. A Kendall Krick layup coupled with a Peacocks turnover on the next possession served as the early dagger. Marist had a 43-35 lead and the ball with 90 seconds left.
Saint Peter’s tried to play the foul game down the stretch, but it’s offensive ineptitude coupled with enough made free throws from Marist meant that it couldn’t extend the game.
After a miserable Buffalo road trip, the Red Foxes finally had something to smile about.
“We just decided we were going to start fresh,” Trinasia Kennedy said. “It was a tough trip, but we gathered ourselves and found some positivity. We played really hard at practice and did what we were supposed to do, and I’m glad we got the win tonight.”
Zaria Shazer had a game-high 13 points and added seven rebounds. Trinasia Kennedy was right behind with 12 points. Neither turned in a particularly effective shooting performance, but it hardly mattered when points were at a premium.
Siobhan Boylan had one of the better games of her young career, finishing with eight points, including two crucial threes in the third.
Thursday was a team effort where most of the players who saw action contributed in some way. Giorgis had a nice thing to say about everyone on the roster.
Marist held Kendrea Williams, who went for 23 in the first meeting only had two points on one-of-three shooting in 36 minutes. Kassondra Brown had 15 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Peacocks, but she also finished with eight turnovers.
“I hope our kids get the understanding that if you force someone to be the hero and they end up being the hero, then you move on,” Giorgis said. “This is the first time this year where we were able to put the clamps on two people.”
Around the seven-minute mark of the second quarter, things went from already bad to worse on the injury front. Anabel Ellison suffered an injury to her left ankle. As Kiara Fisher’s backup, she had filled into the starting point guard spot admirably, but as she limped off the court, there was obvious pain on her face.
She tried to give it a go during halftime but did not return.
Trinasia Kennedy hit a three to put Marist up 17-10 with around four minutes left in the first half, the kind of score you might see in a football game.
The reason for Saint Peter’s struggles on offense was simple: turnovers. With two minutes left in the first half, the scoreboard showed 19 Peacock turnovers compared to just 10 points.
Saint Peter’s banked in a three to make it 19-13 at the half. It wasn’t pretty. It was anything but pretty, but the Red Foxes had the lead in a game where both teams shot the ball at 24 percent in the first half.
The Peacocks’ giveaways came in all forms. They threw it away, committed offensive fouls, and most of all, they traveled. Saint Peter’s could not, as Bill Raftery likes to say, “get those puppies in order.”
Right away, there was a difference in Saint Peter’s play as the second half began. They stopped turning it over, and by the seven-minute mark of the third, the score was knotted at 21. To the home team’s credit, it responded. Philly freshman Boylan hit a three to make it a 26-21 lead with a little over six minutes left in the third.
With the Red Foxes up 30-23, there was still plenty of restlessness around McCann. When you’re 10 games below a winning record, hardly any lead seems safe.
Sure enough, sloppy ball-handling against Saint Peter’s pressure resulted in a treble of TOs late in the third, and Marist nursed a 35-33 lead heading into the final ten minutes.
The Red Foxes return to action on Saturday afternoon when they travel to face Siena in the return trip of the I-87/Route 9 Rivalry. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Edited by Connor Kurpat
Image from Marist Athletics