Giorgis Era Ends With MAAC Tournament Loss to Rider

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.– It had to end at some point. 

On Tuesday afternoon at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, Brian Giorgis coached his final game.

Marist women’s basketball suffered its second consecutive early exit from the MAAC Tournament after a 63-50 loss to 10-seed Rider in the opening round of games.

“I’m taking it much better than I thought,” Giorgis said after the game. “These guys have been my family.”

The Broncs pulled off the difficult task of completing the three-game sweep over Marist just days after beating the Red Foxes in overtime in Lawrenceville.

On Tuesday, the Red Foxes dug themselves a hole with a poor first half, and a second-half comeback attempt ran out of steam midway through the fourth quarter.

The Red Foxes trailed by 13 in the late stages of the third, and out of desperation, went to a press to try to get something going.

Marist made its run to begin the fourth, with Kiara Fisher draining a long two to make 46-41 and then making a nice assist to Catie Cunningham to bring it to 46-43 with 7:37 left and force the Broncs into a timeout.

Cunningham completed the comeback with a triple to tie it at 46, but the Broncs took the Red Foxes’ best punch and countered with a haymaker.

Rider began to break the pressure with ease, with Amanda Mobley scoring three times in the paint and making a key assist as part of a 12-0 run that made it 58-46 with under four minutes left.

“We came back with pressure which we normally don’t do,” Giorgis said. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t smart enough to take the press off when we needed to… they were exhausted out there.”

Mobley, who has given the Red Foxes fits over the years, played tremendously and finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, and five assists and was the standout player in this one.

“The difference in the game was that they had a fifth-year in Amanda Mobley who was outstanding today,” Giorgis said. “They say in a tournament, guards win championships, and their guards did today.”

Marist’s offense, which was fueled by the pressure, fizzled out late and finished the game just 1-of-10 from the floor.

Giorgis ends his career at Marist with a 463-203 record.

Unsurprisingly, much of the focus coming into this one was on Zaria Shazer and Kiara Fisher. Marist’s dynamic duo needed to be at its best in this one but unfortunately, it wasn’t.

Fisher had just 8 points on 3-for-16 shooting and Shazer was only a little better with 11 points in a 5-for-15 effort. Fisher did finish the night with a game-high 10 assists.

Catie Cunningham was a bright spot, tying Shazer with a team-high 11 points.

The Broncs executed a solid game plan on the offensive end. Rider used solid ball movement and skip passes to create plenty of open perimeter looks. Lynn Milligan’s team shot 8-for-28 from three but missed quite a few good looks as well.

Mikayla Firebaugh added 19 on 6-for-18 shooting.

It was another cold-shooting day for the Red Foxes, who shot just 31 percent from the field and just 4-for-19 from three-point range. They cleaned up their act considerably in the second half but still finished with 14 turnovers.

It was a slow, stagnant start on offense for Marist. The Broncs began to take advantage early in the second quarter with five consecutive points from Mobley putting Rider up 18-10 with just under eight minutes left in the first half.

The Red Foxes finally got something positive when Kendall Krick nailed a three to make it 19-15 but Marist kept making self-inflicted mistakes. The Broncs could have been up by more, but Rider was able to take a 10-point lead into the locker room thanks to more scoring from Mobley, who made it 29-19 right before the buzzer.

In the first 20 minutes, Marist had more turnovers (10) than made shots (seven). Fisher and Shazer only combined for eight points on 4-for-13 shooting and the offense struggled to get anything else going.

Back-to-back scores from Julianna Bonilla and Shazer helped the Red Foxes draw to within 33-26 in the early minutes of the third and Catie Cunningham converted an easy layup to bring it to 35-30 with under six minutes left in the quarter.

Marist seemed to have the momentum, but the Broncs quelled a big run with one of their own to grab a 43-30 lead with 2:52 left in the third.

But the Red Foxes instituted a press that gave Rider fits late in the third and drew back to 43-35 to end the quarter, with Morgan Tompkins getting a steal and layup to beat the buzzer.

For Marist, the Erin Doughty era will officially begin on Apr. 1.

Rider advances to play Niagara tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. 

Edited by Ricardo Martinez

Photo from Marist Athletics

Author: Jonathan Kinane

I'm a senior from Syracuse, NY, studying sports communication and journalism. I consider myself a die-hard Syracuse University sports fan, but I also follow the Knicks, Giants, and Yankees in the professional ranks. Sports and writing have long been my passions and I am excited for another year with Center Field.

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