In Brian Giorgis’ final trip to the Albany area for the Route 9 Rivalry, Marist women’s basketball could not hold onto an early lead or finish off a late comeback in a 74-67 loss at Siena on Saturday afternoon.
The game was a topsy-turvy affair with the Red Foxes jumping out to a 14-point first-half advantage before the Saints used a commanding 26-2 run to turn the screws on their visitors to take a double-digit lead in the third quarter before Marist stopped the bleeding.
The Red Foxes made a valiant charge to get back into things but they left the UHY Center losers of three consecutive games in their series with Siena and still searching for consistency as the season continues.
A steal and layup from Kiara Fisher capped a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter that helped Marist briefly regain the lead at 59-58 with 6:59 left.
Fisher was able to score at will in the early going, putting up 18 points in the first half. Things didn’t come quite as easily in the second half but she still finished with a career-high 29 on 13-for-20 shooting.
Fisher has gone over 20 points in three of her last four games, with the exception being Thursday against Manhattan when she had to sit out the first half.
The Saints responded with a banked-in three from freshman Elisa Mevius that made it 63-59 with 5:44 and their lead extended back up to six when Teresa Seppala hit a triple against a 2-3 zone look that made it 66-60 with 3:35 left.
Zaria Shazer had the response for Marist, scoring the next five points of the game to make it 66-65 with 2:45 to play. Shazer finished with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting but shot just 6-for-10 from the free-throw line.
Siena’s Valencia Fontonelle-Posson would ultimately have the last laugh. She drained a wide-open look to put the Saints up 70-66 with 1:36 left and struck again after Maeve Donnelly split a pair at foul line, hitting from the wing to make it 73-67 with 50 seconds remaining.
Fontonelle-Posson finished with 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting, including four made threes. Teresa Seppala had a game-high 19 for the Saints (10-5, 4-1 in the MAAC) and she also struck four times from deep.
Mevius dished out a game-high 14 assists for the victors.
There were plenty of unknowns around the Saints coming into the season with Siena getting picked to finish in a tie for ninth in the league. Despite having 11 newcomers this season, the Saints find themselves on a four-game winning streak and in contention atop the MAAC.
Marist (6-8, 2-3 in the MAAC) left several points at the foul line. Too often the Red Foxes settled for 1-for-2 trips and finished the game 14-for-24 from the charity stripe.
Once again, Marist struggled to find scoring from anyone outside its big three. Fisher, Shazer, and Kendall Krick combined for 61 of their team’s 67 points, and all but one of the team’s made shots.
Erin Fox was the only other player to record a made field goal while all of Donnelly’s points came from the foul line.
The Red Foxes shot 49 percent from the floor but just 3-for-15 from beyond the arc. Marist also registered just five assists on 25 made shots while Siena assisted 21 times on 26 makes.
The Saints also enjoyed a 24-2 advantage in bench points and outrebounded Marist 35-24.
Marist got out to a flying start, playing with pace and building an early lead. Fisher and Krick combined to shoot 9-for-14 in the first quarter with the Red Foxes using a 9-1 run to establish a 19-9 lead just over seven minutes into the game. The duo both knocked down perimeter shots late in the first quarter and the visitors led 24-15 after ten minutes.
Siena responded to cut the lead to 26-20 early in the second quarter, but Zaria Shazer began to heat up in the post, scoring three times as part of a 10-2 run that extended Marist’s lead to 36-22 with five minutes left in the first half.
In what had already established itself as a game of runs, the Saints barged their way back into the game as Marist lost its cohesiveness and struggled to keep the ball on offense. A 14-2 run brought the home team to within two points, a 38-36 deficit, at halftime.
Over the final five minutes of the first half, the Red Foxes failed to make a field goal and turned the ball over six times, and only managed to attempt one shot. Marist was still at 55 percent from the field, but the extra possessions allowed the Saints to get right back into the game.
Siena took its first lead of the game with a three from Fontonelle-Posson putting the hosts up 39-38 out of the halftime break. As Marist continued to sputter, the Saints began to pile it on, with a three from Ahniysha Jackson capping a 10-0 run to put them up 46-38 and force a Marist timeout.
Fisher mercifully broke a six-and-a-half minute scoring drought that stretched back to the first half with a jumper that made it 48-40.
Marist fought back to get within 50-46 but Seppala hit her third triple of the afternoon to give the Saints some more breathing room and the Red Foxes had to settle for a 57-49 deficit going into the fourth after Fisher scored from mid-range.
Marist returns to action on Thursday night when it travels to Jersey City to take on a Saint Peter’s squad that is still looking for its first win of the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez
Photo from Marist Athletics