A weekend that featured two very winnable home games for Marist women’s basketball ended up yielding a pair of very frustrating losses.
On the school’s 13th annual Play 4 Kay night, which benefits the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation, Marist women’s basketball struggled mightily on offense en route to a 52-46 defeat to Canisius on Saturday night at the McCann Center.
“This week has been heartbreaking,” Marist head coach Brian Giorgis said. “We’re down two starters but we battled all the way to the end and we just didn’t get over the hump.”
The game was a grind. The Red Foxes weren’t struggling to find too many looks, for the second game in a row, they just couldn’t execute from the paint or the perimeter.
Marist (10-13, 6-8 in the MAAC) shot 13-for-47 (28 percent) from the floor and 3-for-15 from three-point range. To make matters worse, the Red Foxes struggled with ball security giving the ball away 19 times.
Those 19 giveaways led to 23 opposing points.
The final 20 minutes was a back-and-forth affair with Zaria Shazer putting Marist up 45-43 from two foul shots with just under six minutes left in the game. About 30 seconds later, Canisius went in front after making two free throws and getting a steal and a layup off the Marist inbound pass.
After Shazer had what she thought was a chance at a three-point play– whistled as a charge– the Griffins extended their lead to 49-46 with 2:37 left after Cheyenne Stubbs poured in a long two that was the result of an offensive rebound.
A replay of the Shazer foul showed that the defender was inside the restricted area and that the call should have gone as a blocking foul. The call was not eligible for review.
Marist had opportunities to get back into the game down the stretch but Shazer missed a wide-open look down three with 45 seconds left and Morgan Tompkins committed the team’s 19th turnover of the game down four with 18 seconds left.
The Red Foxes failed to score a point in the last 4:06 of the game.
It was Canisius’ (7-16, 4-10 in the MAAC) first win since Jan. 5 over a winless St. Peter’s team. The Griffins completed a season sweep of their hosts with the victory.
The Red Foxes were missing starters Kendall Krick and Maeve Donnelly for the second consecutive contest. Both players sustained lower-body injuries in games against Mount St. Mary’s and Quinnipiac respectively.
Early in the fourth quarter, it seemed like the injury problems might get worse for Marist when Kiara Fisher went down holding her left shoulder, which she dislocated a few weeks ago. Luckily, for the Red Foxes, she only had to go to the bench for a few moments before re-entering the game.
Fisher struggled all night long, finishing with just four points on 2-for-11 shooting. She was the main culprit when it came to Marist’s ball security woes, committing seven turnovers.
The same was true for Zaria Shazer, who uncharacteristically missed some easy looks inside and needed a 7-for-8 effort from the foul line to get up to 13 points on the night.
“Unfortunately, the people we count on the most didn’t have the games that you hoped that they would,” Giorgis said. “There’s a lot of pressure on them to really carry us.”
Shazer shared game-high scoring honors with teammate Morgan Tompkins, who, filling in for Krick, injected some early energy and athleticism. She shot 3-for-5 from the floor and made all six of her attempts from the foul line to get to 13 points.
“These last two games have been rough,” Tompkins said. “But I feel like I’m really starting to get confidence in myself.”
The Red Foxes forced Canisius into seven turnovers in the first eight minutes of action but could only parlay that into a 16-15 lead after 10 minutes, shooting just 4-for-16 to open the game.
The game continued to be a scrap with turnovers and held balls aplenty but Piddock hit her second three of the evening to make it 22-18 with six minutes left in the half. It would prove to be the last points of the half for the Red Foxes.
Marist gave the ball away six times in the last 5:59 of the first half, and while the home team defended well, the Griffins were still able to muster enough offense to take a narrow lead into the locker room.
The teams combined to shoot 15-for-55 in the first 20 minutes, with each squad’s turnover numbers already in double-digits. Of particular concern for the Red Foxes was that Fisher and Shazer had just two points on 1-for-11 shooting.
On the first possession out of the break, Marist ended its drought and got back in front courtesy of a Fisher layup. The Red Foxes were still squandering too many good looks and Canisius found itself up 33-28 after consecutive three-point makes from Cheyenne Stubbs and Chloe Chard Peloquin.
After four consecutive foul shots from Tompkins brought Marist to within one, a wide-open jumper from Shazer put the Red Foxes back in front 36-35 with 3:24 left in the third.
Canisius had fallen quiet on offense, but a three by Adrien LaMora that touched every part of the rim ended a four-minute Griffins scoring drought and leveled the game at 38 heading into the fourth.
Marist will travel to Riverdale to face Manhattan on Thursday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Edited by RIcardo Martinez
Photo from Marist Athletics