Monday, March 18, 2013

No. 12 Seeded Marist Hopes To Topple Michigan State

The Marist women found out Monday night that they would be the No. 12 seed in the 16-team "Bridgeport Bracket," not that different from their position as a No. 13 seed a year ago.

The Red Foxes, for sure, will hope for similar results as a year ago ... if not even a little better.

Last year Marist upset its bracket's No. 4 seed Georgia in a first-round game and nearly knocked off No. 5 seed St. Bonaventure, losing 66-63.

This year the Red Foxes play against a No. 5 seed, Michigan State, in a first-round contest and, then, would likely meet up with a No. 4 seed (Maryland) in the second round.

Here's a look at Marist's first-round NCAA game against Michigan State.

GAME INFORMATION: No. 12 seed Marist vs. No. 5 seed Michigan State, Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Comcast Center on the campus of Maryland University in College Park, Md. The game will  be nationally televised on ESPN2.

TEAM RECORDS: Michigan State 24-8 overall. Marist is 26-6.

KEY MICHIGAN STATE PLAYERS: 5-foot-11 junior guard Klarissa Bell (11.1 points, 5.9 rebounds per game), 5-7 senior guard Jasmine Thomas (10.4, 5.3, 3.1 assists), 6-4 sophomore forward Becca Mills (9.2, 4.3), 5-7 sophomore guard Kiana Johnson (9.2, 3.6), 6-3 junior forward Analise Pickrel (9.1, 4.7), 6-3 sophomore guard Jasmine Hines (7.7, 5.5), 6-1 senior forward Courtney Schiffauer (6.2, 6.1).

KEY MARIST PLAYERS: 6-2 senior forward Elizabeth Beynnon (12.2, 4.3), 5-10 junior guard Casey Dulin (10.2, 4.3, 3.3 assists), 6-1 senior forward Kristina Danella (9.3, 4.5), 5-10 junior guard Leanne Ockenden (8.8, 3.9), 6-0 junior forward Emma O'connor (9.1, 4.7), 6-0 freshan guard Sydney Coffey (7.1, 3.1), 5-4 senior guard Kristine Best (2.2, 1.6, 2.1 assists).

MICHIGAN STATE NOTES: The Spartans advanced to the Big Ten tournament's championship game, losing there but beating No. 8 Penn State in the semifinals ... It held Penn State to 19 first-half points in that contest ... Michigan State has won 20 or more games for 10 straight seasons, the longest streak in the Big Ten. Like Marist, it stresses defense. It held 27 of its 31 opponents to below their per-game average... The Spartans lead the Big Ten in fewest points allowed, 3-point defense, rebound margin and turnover margin. They're in the top 40 nationally in points allowed (11th), rebound margin (18th), 3-point FG defense (27th) and fewest turnovers (14.1) ... Like Marist, it does not have a singular star, instead it has seven players averaging between 6.2 and 11.1 points per contest ... Many similarities with Marist, but one huge difference, literally, is Michigan State's inside game. It goes 6-4 and 6-3 up front with another 6-3 player who gets big minutes off the bench. And, there's one more inside presence, Schiffauer, at 6-1, who leads the team in rebounding (6.1 per game), also coming off the bench ... The Spartans are pretty much a 7-player team, and only used those seven in its last two games in the Big Ten tournament ... They beat two to-25 teams this year: Penn State and No. 25 Purdue.

MARIST NOTES: Marist recorded at least 25 wins for seventh straight season and at least 20 for the last 10 ... This is the program's eighth-straight trip to the NCAA's, where it's no stranger to success. It one a tournament game in each of the last two years, won another one in 2008 and won two tournament contests in 2007 ...Like Michigan State, Marist is without a true star, but is well balanced with six players averaging between 7.1 and 12.2 points per outing ... Unlike Michigan State, though, Marist has to overcome height and rebounding deficiencies. It has one player over 6-1, and that's Beynnon, who is more comfortable on the perimeter. It's best rebounder is the 6-foot-0 O'Connor. As a team, Marist gets outrebounded by an average of 2.8 per contest ... Otherwise, the Red Foxes are 17th nationally in fewest points allowed, 48th in turnovers and 11th in 3-point defense ... Ockenden is the MAAC's Defensive Player of the Year and will likely guard the Spartan's top scorer, Klarissa Bell ... Marist played four nationally ranked teams this year: UConn (ranked No. 2 when the teams met), Kentucky (6th), Oklahoma (12th) and Purdue (12th), and lost all four by an average of 24.5 points per contest ... On its level, once the MAAC season began, Marist has an active 21-game winning streak that includes the three wins in its post-season tournament. That's the 6th-longest streak nationally ... Marist's 18-0 regular-season record in its conference was its third unbeaten league record in the last six seasons.

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