After losing a game that saw both teams combine for 77 points, Marist women’s basketball eclipsed that total in a crucial win over MAAC-newcomer Mount St. Mary’s on Thursday night.
In their first matchup since 1997, Marist overcame a double-digit second half deficit to defeat the Mountaineers 83-77 on the road to level its conference record at 4-4.
Kiara Fisher was phenomenal all night long, tallying a career-high and program-record-breaking 44 points on 12-19 shooting from the floor, making 4-of-7 from three, and draining all 16 of her foul shots to carry Marist to its third road win of the season.
Fisher also tallied a team-high six assists.
The Red Foxes were in front for almost the entire first half before the Mount went on a 28-9 run that flipped a 34-27 Marist lead with two minutes left in the second quarter to a 55-43 deficit midway through the third.
The Red Foxes used a 17-0 run fueled by Fisher to turn a 12-point third quarter deficit into a five-point lead headed into the fourth.
Fisher rang the bell with a floater to make it 68-59 with just under seven minutes left in the game and then it was time for Marist to hold on.
The Marist defense was shaky, surrendering 15 threes to a Mount team that made good on its open looks for much of the night. But when the Red Foxes needed stops, they were able to limit the Mount in the clutch.
Maeve Donnelly and Zaria Shazer each scored to give the visitors a 75-66 with 2:12 left which proved to be enough cushion with Fisher icing the game from the charity stripe, making eight consecutive foul shots in the closing 25 seconds.
After having a streak of nine consecutive double-figure scoring performances broken against Fairfield, Shazer added 20 on 8-for-16 shooting.
Her and Fisher combined for the team’s first 19 points and scored 64 of Marist’s 83 total, with Kendall Krick missing the game for a personal matter.
Jackie Piddock made her second-career start in Krick’s absence and played 33 important minutes, scoring 10 points.
Marist (8-9, 4-4 in the MAAC) shot 42 percent and 5-for-13 from beyond the arc. The Red Foxes got a friendly whistle on the road and shot 33 foul shots compared to just the five their hosts attempted.
More importantly, the Red Foxes made 28 of those tries for an 85 percent clip from the charity stripe.
Mount St. Mary’s (7-10, 3-5 in the MAAC) had plenty of success from beyond the arc but couldn’t match Marist down the stretch. Michaela Harrison had a team-high 29 points, shooting 7-for-14 from deep.
It was no surprise that Fisher and Shazer carried the load in Krick’s absence. They combined for an 8-0 run to put Marist up 19-10 seven-and-a-half minutes in and the Red Foxes led 23-15 after the first quarter.
Piddock shouldered some of the scoring burden, scoring six of the team’s next eight points, including finishing a layup off a back cut that put the Red Foxes up 27-18 with 6:17 left in the first half.
Even though the offense was performing much closer to its potential, Marist failed to take advantage of several good chances and the Mount climbed closer after Jessica Tomasetti banked in her second three of the half and Jasmine Lindsay-Husky converted a layup off a steal to cut the deficit to 29-27.
Fisher hit another three and nabbed two more off a steal to briefly restore the lead to 34-27 with 2:07 left in the half.
Then, Mount St. Mary’s charged back to take the lead thanks to a bizarre sequence before the buzzer. Aryna Taylor hit a three to give the hosts their first lead of the game at 35-34 with 12 seconds left. After the ball went through the net, Marist’s Ciara Croker was called for a foul, giving possession back to the Mount.
Taylor proceeded to hit a step-back triple to give the hosts a 38-34 advantage and sent a fuming Brian Giorgis to the locker room.
The Red Foxes opened the third quarter in a 2-3 zone and scored the first four points to tie the game at 38 but Mount St. Mary’s kept the rain coming from three, with Harrison hitting two triples and Jo Raflo adding another to cap an 11-1 run and make it 49-39 four minutes into the second half.
Harrison wasn’t done as she hit twice more to make it 55-43 with 4:09 left in the third and it seemed like all the momentum was with the MAAC newcomers.
Then, the Red Foxes started to chip away. Sam Bailey hit a three to make it 55-48 and scoring from Fisher and Shazer cut it to 55-52 before Fisher tied it with a triple with 1:46 left in the third.
Marist continued to get stops and push the ball, re-gaining the sense of urgency it showed early. Improbably, the Red Foxes took the lead when Fisher hit a jumper to give her 30 points on the night. Over the final four-plus minutes, Marist scored 17 consecutive points to grab a 60-55 lead heading into the fourth.
Marist returns home to face Quinnipiac on Saturday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the McCann Center.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez
Photo from Marist Athletics