Friday, March 2, 2012

Dulin Capably Steps Into Marist's Point-Guard Void

Casey Dulin was the least-used scholarship player on Marist's roster last year as a freshmen, averaging just 7.9 minutes and 3.5 points per game.

Things only got slightly better for the 5-foot-10 guard early this season when she averaged 16.5 minutes and 7.0 points per game off the bench in the Red Foxes' first seven games.

And, then, things changed. Starting point guard Kristine Best suffered a season-ending knee injury and head coach Brian Giorgis needed a new floor general.

Giorgis likes to tell the story that Dulin approached him to ask for an opportunity to play the position.

"Oh, it didn't happen like that," said Dulin. "I certainly didn't go to him and ask."

No matter who had the idea first for Dulin to take over at the point, hindsight shows it was an enlightened decision.

Since taking over the position Dulin haws averaged 30.3 minutes, 9.3 points and recorded 81 assists against just 61 turnovers entering Friday's first-round game of the MAAC tournament.

She was even better on the bigger stage getting a career-high 20 points (8-of-11 shooting from the floor), five rounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals. in 33 court minutes in the Red Foxes' MAAC tournament-opening victory over Saint Peter's.

"It was a big adjustment for me (moving from off-guard to the point) because the last time I played point guard was when I was in high school ... and there's a big difference between playing the position in high school and doing it on the Division I level," said Dulin, after Friday's game.

"I just tried to think a lot about what Elise (Caron, the point guard for Marist last season) did. I was very nervous when I initially moved over because I didn't play a lot at all last year."

Dulin's turnover woes (21 turnovers against just 12 assists) limited her playing time during her freshman season. She knew she'd have take better care of the ball when she came back as a sophomore to earn more time on the court.

"Handling the ball was something I really worked on over the summer ... that and shooting," she said. "I knew I had to get better if I wanted to play."

And, now, she is the primary ball-handler on a team whose offense relies on sharp cuts and screens and precision passes when players get open.

"With our offense, I don't even know what's going to happen," said Giorgis. "That's why we're hard to defend. In terms of running the offense this is the best group I've had in my 10 years here."

"That's the thing about this year's team," added Dulin. "We run the offense and just about everyone can score."

But, not without a point guard facilitating the offensive flow. And, just when the Red Foxes thought it might be without a good one when Best went down for the year Giorgis found another one in Dulin.

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