March 7, 2014
Marist never trailed in a dominant 87-65 MAAC Quarterfinal win over Siena Friday night in Springfield, Mass. The eight-time defending MAAC champions used an early 11-0 run to take a double digit lead and bridged the first and second halves with an 18-0 run to take command.
"I think (Marist's) record speaks for itself," Siena coach Ali Jaques said. "They put it all together. I think they're one of the best teams on any level that I've seen."
Madeline Blais (16) and Leanna Ockenden (14) combined for 30 points and made all nine of their field goal attempts. Sydney Coffey (15) and Tori Jarosz (12) also reached double figures for balanced Marist which won its 24th straight MAAC Tournament game and 14th straight by double digits.
"I thought we got off to a great start," Marist coach Brian Giorgis said. "We shot the ball well, played defense really well. Great start to the Tournament for us."
The loss marks the end of the careers for Siena seniors Kanika Cummings, Ciara Stewart and Clara Sole Anglada. Seniors Kate Zarotney, Onyx Mintah and Allison Mullings did not dress for the Championships.
The Saints were coming off their best effort of the season - an 87-66 victory over Manhattan in the First Round Thursday.
"Really proud of our team's effort in this Tournament," Jaques said. "It's been an up-and-down season for us. I thought we had some moments today where we really competed."
Junior Kelsey Booth posted her second career double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
"I think everyone was really happy and really proud of the way we were able to come together and play yesterday," Booth said. "It feels so great to know that's what we can do, and that's what we will do next year."
Booth, who won the team's Most Improved Player Award Monday night, added four blocks and three steals.
"Kelsey got in the gym everyday (in the off-season) and became really fit," Jaques said. "Because she was so invested and so committed, she brought great energy and leadership. I'm really proud of her."
Cummings tied for a team-high with 14 points, one last strong Tournament performance for the outgoing shooting guard. Junior Tehresa Coles had 10 points and a pair of steals in the loss. Booth and Coles figure to take on leadership roles for next year's team which will try to rebound from a disappointing 9-22 campaign.
"I know the nine kids we had on the bench were committed and gave everything they could," Jaques said.
Marist was firing on all cylinders all night. The Red Foxes shot 56% from the field with 22 assists and made 11 three-pointers (11-24). After Cummings hit a three-pointer to bring Siena within 13-11, Marist scored 11 straight and led by at least eight the rest of the way. The game was within striking range late in the first half, but Marist scored the final seven points before intermission to take a 44-27 lead to the lockerroom.
"The end of the first half hurt," Jaques said. "I said `let's get it to six', and it was 17."
Marist then scored the first 11 points of the second half and led by as many as 36 before resting its key players for the final eight minutes.
"I'm looking forward to the future," Jaques said. "Thankful to the seniors for what they did for the program. I'm just really excited about the future of our program."