Marist Women's Basketball Falls to Quinnipiac in MAAC Championship Game
The Marist women’s basketball team put up a valiant fight against the MAAC’s best, but a great effort fell just short Monday at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York as the Red Foxes fell 67-58 to Quinnipiac (26-5, 18-0 MAAC) in the MAAC championship game.
Marist will move on to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) for the first time since 2015, by way of appearing in their conference championship. They will discover their opponent next week, when NCAA and WNIT brackets are released. Quinnipiac advances to the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row.
The Red Foxes (20-13, 14-4 MAAC) ran out to an early 6-2 lead, and weathered the Quinnipiac storm with timely baskets from Alana Gilmer, who put up a team-high 19 points on 8-of-16 shots. Rebekah Hand also played a big role with 17 points of her own, including several key three-pointers down the stretch that kept the Foxes close with the Bobcats. When the Foxes needed a defensive stop, Willow Duffell pounded the defensive glass, collecting a team-high seven defensive rebounds.
Marist led the first-place Bobcats 35-34 at the half, but Quinnipiac’s Jen Fay stuck it to the Foxes out of the break, with seven quick points in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Marist would recover on defense, limiting Quinnipiac to 14 third-quarter points, but the Foxes managed just nine of their own in the frame. By the time the buzzer sounded on the third period, Quinnipiac had taken a 48-44 lead.
The fourth quarter saw some dramatic basketball, as the Red Foxes fought to cut the Bobcats’ lead to two. With under four minutes remaining, Quinnipiac led 55-53. This preceded a 9-2 Quinnipiac run that saw the Bobcats’ lead grow to nine points. A late Marist rally was not enough, as Quinnipiac clinched their second consecutive MAAC title and the coveted automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Coach Brian Giorgis showed confidence in his starters, as the Marist bench tallied only 16 minutes of action. Maura Fitzpatrick and Gilmer each eclipsed the 40-minute mark, speaking to the durability of Marist’s starting five.
The Red Foxes enter the WNIT with a record of 20-13, and have clinched their best mark since 2014-15, when the team made their last postseason appearance.