ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — A disappointing Marist women’s basketball season came to an end with a whimper at the MAAC Tournament in Atlantic City, losing 49-29 to Saint Peter’s in the first round on Tuesday afternoon.
“We just didn’t shoot the ball well today,” Marist head coach Brian Giorgis said. “And when that happened, we panicked. It’s been our bugaboo all year. Defenses don’t have to get out on us and it’s just another wasted defensive effort from us. Today was the epitome of our year.”
The year featured plenty of poor offensive performances, but the timing of this one couldn’t have been worse. The Red Foxes had a brutal shooting game, going 10-of-52 (19 percent) from the field and a frigid one-of-22 from beyond the arc. Marist also turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 18 Peacock’s points.
“It’s really discouraging that we’ve been in such a drought all year long,” Zaria Shazer said. “We play hard on defense and it’s really frustrating when we get a rebound and then can’t get it to drop on the other end.”
29 points are tied for the lowest output of the season for a MAAC team. Iona put up the same number against Fairfield earlier this year.
Marist suffered a big blow coming into the game, once it became evident that Trinasia Kennedy would not be available to play after a head-on collision with press row at the end of Saturday’s overtime loss to Manhattan.
Kennedy’s 10.6 points per game were top among Marist players who were still active this season. In addition, Kennedy usually draws the opposing team’s best offensive player and was an integral part in holding the Peacocks to 41 points and forcing 29 turnovers in the win back on February 17.
Marist missed her most on offense. Without Kennedy, Marist lacked a player that had the capability of creating her own shot.
“We missed her a lot in this one,” Giorgis said. “There are times where she’d usually run the point for us, and not having her definitely hurt. From last year’s team, we didn’t have our top six players.”
In the final game of her career, Kendall Krick led the Red Foxes with 10 on four-of-11 shooting. She checked out the game with a minute left and went down the bench, embracing each one of her teammates.
“Kendall is someone who always put in the extra work in the gym and was the consummate teammate,” Giorgis said. “She got better every game, but as the year went on and she had to be the primary scorer, I don’t think that was something she was very comfortable with, but she worked at it anyway.”
Kendrea Williams, a holdover from last year’s team, picked up the slack by putting up 10. Kaila Dawkins put up the same number, and Sky Castro dominated the boards for the Peacocks (and there were plenty of them to get), grabbing 19 boards and scoring nine points.
Saint Peter’s cleaned up its act from the last game, turning the ball over 16 times, which was going to kill them since the defense held Marist under 30 points.
The Red Foxes went on one of their patented droughts from the field in the first quarter. After making its first three shots of the game, Marist missed its next ten and went seven minutes without a field goal.
Luckily for Marist, and unluckily for the fans, neither team could muster much on offense in the first half. Two straight scores off offensive rebounds put the Peacocks up 19-11 with 4:11 left in the second quarter.
The Red Foxes continued to clank shot after shot, resulting in another lengthy seven-plus minute scoring drought. Shazer brought a merciful end to the drought with a floater to make it 19-13. Saint Peter’s added another score before the halftime buzzer, going to the locker room with a 21-13 advantage.
It felt more like 20.
Marist shot 18 percent from the floor in the first half and 0-for-10 from three. Saint Peter’s wasn’t much better at 28 percent from the field but showed incrementally more consistency than the Red Foxes.
The struggles didn’t subsist after the half. The Peacocks slowly continued to build their lead as Marist opened the second half on another scoring drought. A score from Castro made it 25-13 with 6:39 left in the third.
Five points from Sam Bailey brought the score to 29-18, but the Red Foxes struggled to take care of the ball and gifted the Peacocks the next four points to make it 33-18. Erin Fox finally broke the seal from three-point range, and the Marist trailed 36-25 with ten minutes to play.
The Red Foxes had their chances to make a charge in the fourth but continued to miss opportunities even as Saint Peter’s left the door open. Castro scored a back-breaking second-chance basket to make it 41-29 with just over four minutes left, and Kaila Dawkins added a three that proved to be the dagger on the next possession.
True to form, Marist went scoreless over the last seven minutes.
The Red Foxes will have to wait until the fall to get things going again in what will be Giorgis’ final season. The Peacocks advance to tomorrow’s quarterfinal against Quinnipiac at 3:30 p.m.
Edited by Connor Kurpat
Image from Marist Athletics