With heavy losses at Columbia and Vermont putting a damper on a three-game winning streak, Marist women’s basketball got back into the win column with a 59-41 victory at American on Saturday afternoon.
The Red Foxes led by as many as 26 late in the third quarter and cruised home to an easy triumph.
For Marist, the defense was once again a constant. After allowing 103 and 81 points and a combined 27 three-point makes in its last two games, Marist turned in a much more characteristic defensive performance against the Eagles in the nation’s capital.
The Red Foxes held American to a 24 percent mark from the floor and a 3-for-20 performance from three-point range. The Eagles only had 10 points at halftime and started the game 2-for-22 from the floor.
American finished the game with 19 turnovers against seven assists.
Marist (4-5) didn’t exactly put on an offensive clinic, but it didn’t need to against an Eagles team that struggled heavily from the floor. The Red Foxes shot 19-for-50 (39 percent) from the floor and could not find success from distance, only going 1-for-14.
Marist picked the right time to have its worst three-point shooting performance of the season as the defense set a new mark for the fewest points allowed so far in 2022-23.
The Red Foxes got to the foul line 28 times and made 20 for 71 percent. It was a struggle from the outside, but Marist shot 50 percent from inside the arc and had a 34-20 advantage in points in the paint.
Last season, the Eagles won the Patriot League and made it to the NCAA Tournament under former Marist assistant coach Megan Gebbia. A job opportunity at Wake Forest lured Gebbia away from D.C. and it’s been a tough first season for first-year head coach Tiffany Coll.
The Eagles entered the game winless at 0-8 after taking on a difficult early season schedule. American came to the McCann Center and got a win last season but this season, Marist was able to repay the favor.
The game was a defensive struggle from the opening whistle. Marist didn’t trail after Kendall Krick, celebrating her 23rd birthday, converted a layup to make it 6-4 midway through the first quarter.
Krick went on to finish the game with 14 points and five rebounds.
While the Marist offense wasn’t operating on all cylinders, the Red Foxes stretched the advantage to 12-4 with a score from Sam Bailey. A scoreless final two minutes meant the visitors had an eight-point lead after one.
The Eagles continued to either miss or commit turnovers. Kiara Fisher scored twice to extend the lead to 20-5 and then assisted a Sam Bailey layup as the lead went to 17. Fisher finished the game with 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting.
American finally broke its lengthy drought with a three to make it 23-8 but Jackie Piddock answered on the other end and Zaria Shazer completed a three-point play to make it 31-10.
Shazer needed 18 shots to get there, but she finished with a game-high 16 points, shooting 6-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Shazer, Fisher, and Krick were once again the only Red Foxes in double figures, combining for 43 of the 59 Marist points.
The visitors would cash in a few more times from the foul line to make it 34-10 and put the finishing touches on a solid half of basketball.
The Red Foxes kept it going in the second half with Krick hitting a three to make 37-12 and striking again with a jumper to make it 46-20 with 2:35 left in the third. Both teams struggled to score, combining for just six made shots in the third. It was ugly basketball, but Marist was solidly in control.
American employed a full-court press later in the game and began to whittle away at the lead. It was much too little, too late as Giorgis was able to work in some reserves like McKenna Rife and Jayne Whitman to get time before the final buzzer.
Marist will head into conference play with a trip to Buffalo to play Niagara next Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Edited By Dan Aulbach
Photo By Kira Crutcher