Friday, March 7, 2014

Marist Women Strong In Opener Against Siena

The Marist women's basketball team put on another clinic of being at its best at the right time of the season, something MAAC opponents have wearily become accustomed to seeing for more than a decade, now.

When Marist knocked off Siena, 87-65 in a MAAC tournament quarterfinal round contest on Friday, it was the team's seventh consecutive victory, those coming by an average of 22 points per game.

Included in that run was a 79-67 victory over Iona, the tournament's top-seeded team and co-regular season champion with Iona (both with 18-2 records) on the final day of regular-season play.

Marist was at its typical best against Siena, pulling away from a 13-11 advantage with an impressive stretch of play for the next 25 minutes in which it outscored its opponent, 60-27. That enabled the Red Foxes to take a 71-35 lead and, then, to play its reserves over the final 10 minutes of the contest.

Also typical of Marist play was a balanced attack in which five players scored at least nine points, 10 different players scored at least two points and a total of 87 points were produced without a single player taking more than seven shots.

"This is one of our better balanced teams," admitted Marist coach Brian Giorgis. "These payers play well together and they understand what we need to do to get a good shot.

"By having balance it means the team guarding you can't double off someone. But, ours isn't a simple offense It takes a whilie for our players to learn.

"We don't run set plays. We work to penetrate, to get a second person to cover you and, then, kick to someone who's open. We don't look for the first shot, but we enjoy make teams play defense for 20 or 25 seconds before we make a play. It makes the opponent work hard and, then, we still get the result we want."

The ultimate result is a path that, for each of the past eight seasons, has led to the NCAA tournament. The Red Foxes have either won outright or shared the MAAC's regular-season title for 11 consecutive seasons.

Friday's victory over Siena pushed this season's record to 25-6, the eighth consecutive 25-victory season for Giorgis' team.

And, it doesn't look like there's any end in sight.

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