#24/#20 Marist Advances To MAAC Semifinals, Defeats Canisius 54-44

Courtesy:  Marist Sports Information
Release:  March 07, 2008
Courtesy: MAAC Sports
Box Score

ALBANY, N.Y. - The Marist women's basketball team advanced to the MAAC Tournament semifinals on Friday, defeating eighth seed Canisius 55-44 at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. The Red Foxes held the Golden Griffins to 17.9% shooting from the field in the second half to overcome a two-point halftime deficit. With the win, Marist has won its last 19 games with the last seven being by 10 points or more.

Senior guard Nikki Flores (Montvale, N.J.) led the Red Foxes with 13 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Sophomore Rachele Fitz (Seven Hills, Ohio), named the Pepsi MAAC Player of the Year on Thursday, added 10 points. Sarah Smrdel (Mentor, Ohio) gave Marist a lift off the bench with eight points, including two three-pointers, and five rebounds. Freshman Erica Allenspach (Miamisburg, Ohio) set a new career-high with nine rebounds.

Canisius opened the scoring with a Laura Buetow basket 2:28 into the game. Marist answered with a basket from Fitz, marking the first of seven ties in the first half. With the Golden Griffins up 9-6, Smrdel hit the first of her two triples to tie the game at 9-9 with 12:51 to go in the half. Amanda Cavo answered with a three of her own to give Canisius a 12-9 lead. Smrdel would come back with her second three-pointer to tie the game at 12-12. The Red Foxes took their first lead of the game with 9:08 to go in the first half when Lynzee Johnson (Bellbrook, Ohio) hit a layup to give Marist a 16-14 lead. Buetow came back with a jumper in the lane to tie the game at 16-16.

With Canisius up 21-18 with 4:05 to go in the half, Marist went on a 6-0 run powered by baskets from Julianne Viani (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) and Brittney Engle (South Easton, Mass.) to take a 24-21 lead. Just as they had all half, Canisius came right back with Brittane Russell scoring the last five points of the half to give the Golden Griffins a 26-24 lead at halftime.

The Golden Griffins jumped out to a two-point lead to start the second half, as Buetow split a pair of free-throws to take a 30-28 lead. From that point on, Marist took over. Fitz led the charge with a layup assisted by Meg Dahlman (Spencerport, N.Y.), to tie the game at 30-30. Marist scored the next eight points to take a 38-30 lead with 10:04 to go, holding Canisius without a field goal for 9:04. The Red Foxes would cruise from there, making 11 of their last 15 free throws to get the 10-point win.

Marist (29-2) shot 39.6% from the field despite making just 3-of-20 three-pointers. The Red Foxes also shot an uncharacteristic 59.1% from the free throw line. Defense is what propelled Marist to the semifinals, holding Canisius to 28.3% from the field and outrebounding the Golden Griffins 39-37. Laura Buetow led Canisius with 13 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Brittane Russell added nine points and seven rebounds, with Ellie Radke coming off the bench to score seven points. Canisius ends the season with a record of 13-18.

The Red Foxes will take on the winner of the quarterfinal between Manhattan and Saint Peter's on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The game will be broadcast on WKIP 1450 AM in Poughkeepsie and will be shown on tape-delay on Fox Sports New York on Sunday at 12:30 a.m.

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