Women’s Basketball loses to Quinnipiac in MAAC Championship

The women’s basketball season came to an end on Monday, March 11, after the Red Foxes (23-10, 13-5) suffered a defeat at the hands of the Quinnipiac Bobcats (26-6, 18-0) in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament championship.

The game kicked off in Albany, N.Y., and Marist opened up the contest with a strong shooting performance. The Red Foxes hit eight out of their 13 shots in the first quarters. They held a 20-18 lead upon entering the second quarter, but the game quickly slipped out of their grasp. Marist only scored nine points in the second quarter, and they went into the halftime break down by nine with the score reading 38-29 Bobcats.

Matters only became worse for the Red Foxes. Their collective shooting percentage remained below 40 percent for the remainder of the game. Marist made just nine of their 26 shots in the second half, and they shot an abysmal 25 percent in the final quarter, hitting only three shots. When the final buzzer sounded, Quinnipiac went home with a decisive 81-51 victory over Marist. With this win, the Bobcats bring home their third consecutive MAAC championship title, and secure their ticket to the NCAA March Madness tournament.

The Bobcats were 18-0 against other teams in the MAAC before the championship, and their performance against Marist was a sure statement of dominance. Quinnipiac controlled the game in every aspect. They were especially dominant in the rebound category, grabbing 50 rebounds and putting up 28 second chance points. Marist only brought in 27 rebounds and put up 5 second-chance points. Marist Coach Brian Giorgis said that this was Marist’s achilles heel in this contest.

“We didn’t rebound, and you can’t give up 23 offensive rebounds,” Giorgis said. He also felt his team was drained after an exhausting win against Rider in the semifinals. “We had such an emotional and gut-wrenching win on Saturday, and I think we left some of it there,” Giorgis said. Their exhaustion, coupled with the absence of three members of the Red Fox starting lineup due to illness, made it ever more difficult for Marist to prevail. Giorgis also Quinnipiac high praise, applauding their defense and the performance of their starting lineup, which scored 69 of the Bobcats’ 81 points.

“You just tip your cap to them,” Giorgis said. “They played great.”

Offensively, the Red Foxes struggled to find success anywhere on the court. They put up 22 points in the paint compared to the Bobcats 34, and they shot 33 percent from the three-point line while Quinnipiac shot 37 percent. Marist also displayed poor ball security, turning the ball over 16 times and allowing Quinnipiac to score 12 points off turnovers.

Despite taking their second consecutive loss in the MAAC championship, there was a silver lining to the conclusion of the Marist women’s basketball season. Red-shirt junior Grace Vander Weide finished the game with 25 points, a career high for the Red Fox guard. Giorgis praised both Vander Weide and guard Sarah Barcello ‘22, both of whom made the MAAC All-Tournament Team. Three members of Marist’s starting five are also juniors, which means the team will be led by veteran players with extensive postseason experience next year. Giorgis is highly optimistic about Marist’s chances next season.

“I think we’ve got a chance to win it,” Giorgis said. He noted that Marist will have experience on their side, but he also pointed out that Quinnipiac will lose four members of their starting lineup after this season. While the Bobcats will remain a talented team, the loss of veteran talent could make it easier for the Red Foxes to dethrone the reigning MAAC champions. Marist has been a prominent force in women’s basketball, making the NCAA Division I Tournament in 10 of the last 14 seasons. While their loss to Quinnipiac will prolong Marist’s five-season absence from the NCAA Tournament, the Red Foxes have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about next year.