March 3, 2007
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Marist (26-5) women's basketball team used 23 points from freshman forward Rachele Fitz to top the Saints in the MAAC semifinals 71-59 this afternoon in Bridgeport, Conn. Siena (10-20) junior guard Melissa Manzer registered a career-high 25 points in the losing effort.
"Our team played their hearts out today," said head coach Gina Castelli. "Marist is a well balanced team. They were too tough for us today, especially in the second half."
The Saints struck first with a Shondaya Burrell lay-up at the 17:43 mark which proved to be their only lead of the contest. Burrell finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists on the afternoon. Marist proceeded to respond with a 10-0 run capped off by a Alicia Kresge 3-pointer with 15:26 to put the Red Foxes ahead 10-2.
Marist maintained control throughout the first half taking a 34-19 lead into the intermission. This proved to be the Red Foxes largest lead of the contest. Fitz tallied 12 of her team-high 23 points in the first 20 minutes of play shooting 5-for-6 from the field.
The Saints came out of the half rejuvenated and used three straight baskets from junior forward Laura Menty to cut the Red Foxes lead to 11 with 17:48 remaining in the contest. Menty saw limited action due to foul trouble playing just 19 minutes on the afternoon. Although, she made the most of her time on the floor recording 10 points going 5-for-7 from the field.
Siena chipped away at the Red Foxes lead cutting it to as few as seven when Manzer knocked down a jumper from the free-throw line with 13:27 left to play. This was the closest thee Saints would get as Marist retaliated with eight unanswered points to give themselves a 15 point cushion.
The Red Foxes went on to hit their free-throws down the stretch to secure a 71-59 victory. With the win, Marist advances to the championship game tomorrow night versus Iona.
Senior co-captain Katelyn Dooley finished her collegiate career with two points and two assists on the afternoon. The Saints outrebounded the Red Foxes 32-30. This marked the 12th time out of the last 14 games the Saints outrebounded their opponents.
With the loss, the Saints season comes to a halt. Siena finished the year with a 10-20 overall record and 8-10 in league play. They finished fifth overall in the MAAC.