The injury bug is almost inevitable over the course of a 30-game college basketball season.
Marist women’s basketball couldn’t overcome the adversity of being down two starters—Kendall Krick and Maeve Donnelly—and dropped a 60-54 contest to league-strugglers Rider on Thursday night at the McCann Center.
The Red Foxes held the lead until the middle of the third quarter when a 12-0 Broncs run propelled the visitors ahead. On a night when the offense was struggling, Marist couldn’t get enough stops to effectively cut into the second-half deficit, allowing the Broncs to shoot 52 percent in the final 20 minutes.
“We gave up too many shots inside,” Marist head coach Brian Giorgis said. “Usually, we defend inside-out, and we just really didn’t today. They had 32 points in the paint. That’s unacceptable; that’s not how we play defense.”
The Red Foxes trailed 46-42 entering the fourth quarter, and the Broncs extended their advantage to 54-45 with 6:15 left after Raphaela Toussaint made an easy layup.
Down six, Marist surrendered another gimme basket to Victoria Toomey to make it 56-48 with 4:32 left.
The Red Foxes didn’t quit, with a Sam Bailey score making it 56-52 with three minutes left. But Amanda Mobley, who has haunted McCann for what seems like an eternity had the answer with a step-back that came after an offensive rebound to make it 58-52 with 2:34 left.
Marist got stops from then on but could not find the basket in the clutch. Down 58-54 with 20 seconds left, Zaria Shazer had a mid-range attempt roll off the rim. When Rider pulled down the rebound, ran off some clock, and made the resulting foul shots, the outcome was sealed.
Marist was once again without Krick, who missed her second consecutive game on Thursday night. Starting center Donnelly was another addition to the injury report after suffering a knee injury against Quinnipiac.
Giorgis declined to comment on either Krick or Donnelly’s status going forward.
With the team down its third and fourth-top scorers, it was no surprise that much of the burden fell on the duo of Zaria Shazer and Kiara Fisher.
Shazer paced the Red Foxes with 20 points on 5-of-14 shooting and a 10-of-12 effort from the charity stripe.
Fisher ended the night with 14 points on 5-for-15 shooting.
The Red Foxes (10-12, 6-7 in the MAAC) shot 33 percent from the field and 5-for-18 from three-point range. Marist shot 15-for-18 from the foul line.
“We missed a lot of layups today,” Giorgis said. “We had some great looks at the basket that we missed from the perimeter… we just have to do a better job. Without Kendall and without Maeve, for the most part, I thought we did alright but sometimes our better players try to do a little too much early in the shot clock.”
The Broncs (6-17, 3-11 in the MAAC) entered the night on a six-game losing streak and just two league wins to their name despite returning a lot of experience from last season. Some of that age might have helped Lynn Milligan’s squad down the stretch.
Mikayla Firebaugh had a game-high 23 points for Rider. The Broncs finished the game with 32 points in the paint.
Marist got off to a quick start, scoring seven points in the first 98 seconds of game action. The Red Foxes cooled from there but still got good looks as the Broncs showed a lot of zone in the early going. It was Morgan Tompkins, starting her second consecutive game, who nailed a three to put Marist up 22-14 after 10 minutes of play.
While the Red Foxes looked good early, they weren’t able to execute in the second quarter despite getting some more open opportunities. A six-minute scoring drought could’ve been a lot worse than it was as the Broncs were only able to cut it to 22-18.
A running layup from Shazer finally broke the drought with 4:13 left in the half and Fisher knocked in a high-arcing three on the next possession to get the lead up to 27-18.
But two threes from Mikayla Firebaugh—who had 15 points in the first half—and more offensive ineptitude from the Red Foxes allowed the Broncs to whittle the deficit down to 29-26 at the halftime break.
Sam Bailey completed a three-point play to Marist up 34-30 just under three minutes into the third but the Broncs would fight back and take their first lead of the night at 37-36 after Jessika Schiffer nailed a three with 5:05 left in the third.
It became a 12-0 Rider run after Amanda Mobley hit a triple and Firebaugh converted a layup to make it 44-36.
A putback score from Shazer cut the Marist deficit to 46-42 entering the final period.
The loss puts the Red Foxes in a tie for sixth place in the conference with Manhattan, two games adrift of a spot in the top five.
Marist has a quick turnaround in store, returning to McCann to face Canisius on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez
Photo from Luke Sassa