It’s not too often that a team wins when it makes just one field goal in the final 10 minutes of a game.
But that’s exactly what Marist women’s basketball pulled off on Thursday night against Mount St. Mary’s in the McCann Center.
It was the Mount’s first trip to Poughkeepsie in the 21st century, with the Red Foxes defeating the visitors 65-54 and earning a season sweep over the conference newcomers in a game that ebbed and flowed despite Marist never relinquishing the lead.
“It was a good team win, especially on the defensive end,” said Marist head coach Brian Giorgis. “(Mount St. Mary’s) can shoot the basketball. They got some uncontested threes at the end but they were worn down a bit. They took a lot of threes but most of them were contested.”
The Red Foxes held the Mount to just for 4-of-29 from three-point range.
While Thursday’s contest didn’t feature the same offensive fireworks as the last time the teams got together, the Red Foxes were in control for most of the 40 minutes. After the Mountaineers made it a two-point lead early in the second half, Marist responded with 15 consecutive points to blow the game open in the third quarter.
Or so they thought.
The Mount made it a game again in the fourth quarter after Carissa Dunham hit a second-chance three to cut the Marist lead to 50-44 with 5:38 left. After the Mount got a point closer, real concern set in after graduate guard Kendall Krick went down with what looked to be a right knee injury.
It took a few minutes, but she was able to limp off under her own power.
When play resumed, it was Julianna Bonilla who finally scored Marist’s first points of the final period with a three to get the lead back up to 53-45 with 4:44 left.
The Mount had a chance to get a stop and cut it to one possession but the Red Foxes pulled down multiple offensive rebounds with their efforts paid off by two foul shots from Zaria Shazer to make it 57-51 with 32 seconds left.
A five-second violation on the resulting inbound pass, despite having one timeout left for the Mount put the final nail in the coffin.
The last time the teams met, Kiara Fisher had the game of her career, posting a program-record 44 points in Marist’s 83-77 win in Emmitsburg, MD on Jan. 19.
On Thursday, Fisher was the first and maybe even the second focus on the scouting report. She still managed to find her way into double-digits with 17 points and an immaculate 12-for-12 output from the foul line.
Zaria Shazer was more than happy to contribute a game-high 22 points on 6-for-16 shooting and a 10-for-11 mark from the charity stripe.
“We came together as a team,” Shazer said. “I think we’re becoming really resilient and we know we can win these games so as long as we’re not keeping our heads down, we can come back or recover at any point.”
In a scary coincidence, the Red Foxes shot 28-for-33 from the free-throw line, registering the same number of makes and attempts as they did in Emmitsburg. As was the case in the first game, some of those makes helped Marist cross the finish line.
Krick’s status will be of concern going forward. With the Red Foxes entering the stretch run in position to make a move into the top five of the league, her 11 points per game may be dearly missed if she is unable to make a speedy return.
Marist (10-10, 6-5 in the MAAC) shot 32 percent from the field and 3-for-15 from three-point range. The Red Foxes were able to grind through the final period despite shooting just 1-for-13.
The Mount’s leading scorer Michaela Harrison tagged Marist for 29 in the first meeting but could muster just two points on 1-for-10 shooting in this one.
The Red Foxes had the Mount to thank for committing 15 fouls and nine turnovers in the first 20 minutes to practically hand them a 31-24 advantage at the half.
The visitors wasted no time getting back into things in the second half, scoring five points in 40 seconds to cut the deficit to 31-29. The Red Foxes responded, finally breaking a field goal drought that stretched close to eight minutes with scoring on three straight trips, including two jumpers from Krick to restore the lead to 37-29.
Fisher hit her first goal of the night—a deep two— to cap a 10-0 run and make it 41-29, forcing a timeout from the opposing bench.
The run stretched to 15-0 after Fisher knocked down a three to stretch it to 46-29 before the Mount finally broke a six-plus minute scoring drought from the foul line.
After the Mount cut it to 46-34, Shazer scored two close ones to help her team take a 50-34 lead into the fourth.
The Red Foxes will make the short trip down to Hamden, CT to face Quinnipiac on Saturday afternoon in what could be the final meeting between Giorgis and Tricia Fabbri. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez
Photo from Marist Athletics