Winning on the road in conference play is important, but an in-conference victory in hostile territory with playoff implications on the line is even more dire.
That’s exactly what Marist women’s basketball did on Thursday evening, making the trip down to Riverdale and beating Manhattan 75-66 at Draddy Gymnasium.
The Red Foxes fell behind early, but used a big run to take the lead in the second quarter and another to give them some breathing room in the second half. Marist was up double-digits for most of the second half, but still had spells where it struggled against Manhattan’s pressure.
After the Jaspers cut it to 65-56 with just under four minutes left, Kiara Fisher responded with a 3-pointer to put Marist back up by 12. Manhattan’s offense couldn’t do much more and the Red Foxes were able to see the game out.
The win busted a three-game losing streak for the Red Foxes and gave Marist the inside track for the 6-seed in the MAAC Tournament since they own the tiebreaker over the Jaspers.
A big reason for that losing streak was the absence of Kendall Krick. After missing three games to a knee injury, she returned off the bench to provide some much-needed experience to the Red Foxes’ lineup.
Krick had 14 points, shooting 8-for-10 from the foul line in 26 minutes in her return to action. It will be interesting to see if she returns to the starting lineup on Saturday against Siena.
Morgan Tompkins, who has been starting for Krick, had another solid game, finishing with eight.
Zaria Shazer was back to peak efficiency, posting a team-high 22 points, needing just 13 shots to get there.
Fisher had a solid second half and finished the night with 19 on 7-for-10 shooting.
Coming off the Canisius game when they both struggled, Marist’s two best players stepped up at Draddy. Having Krick back didn’t hurt either.
The Red Foxes (11-13, 7-8 in the MAAC) didn’t have to settle for too many outside jumpers in this one. Marist shot 46 percent from the field, and when they did shoot from beyond the arc, they did so efficiently, posting a 7-for-12 shooting output.
Manhattan (10-15, 7-9 in the MAAC) shot 39 percent from the field. Dee Dee Davis had 21 to lead the hosts.
The Jaspers jumped on Marist early, getting out to an 11-2 lead in just over three minutes, forcing an early timeout from Brian Giorgis.
Marist’s offensive struggles continued for most of the opening period, but the Red Foxes dug in on defense and used a 10-0 run to grab the lead at 16-15 after Fisher made a layup with 7:47 left in the second quarter.
Triples from Krick and Julianna Bonilla would help Marist extend its lead to 29-23 with just under three minutes left in the first half, but the Jaspers cut it to 29-27 at the break.
After Davis hit a mid-range jumper to tie things coming out of halftime, it was time for the Red Foxes to embark on another big run. Sam Bailey stepped out and hit a 3-pointer to make it 34-29, and a Shazer layup made it a 10-0 run and gave Marist a 39-29 lead with 6:29 remaining in the third.
Manhattan eventually broke its scoring drought, but the Red Foxes stayed comfortably in front with Morgan Tompkins completing a three-point play to make it 46-34 with 3:26 left in the third.
Fisher completed a 3-point play to stretch the lead to 15 late in the third, but the Jaspers scored four in a row to trail 51-40 heading into the fourth quarter.
An 11-point lead with 10 minutes left can often be a tenuous position, but Marist handled itself well. Tompkins connected on a three and Shazer added another score to make it 56-40 with 8:34 left.
Three-point connections from Fisher and Krick helped cement the outcome a few minutes later. Krick’s make put the Red Foxes up 62-45 with 6:23 left.
Marist returns to the McCann Center on Saturday to face I-87 rival Siena in Giorgis’s penultimate home game. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Photo From Marist Athletics
Edited By Dan Aulbach