Row 1: Head Coach Brian Giorgis, Associate Head Coach Meghan Gebbia, Sara Huff, Julianne Viani, Courtney Kolesar, Meg Dahlman, Elise Caron, Rachele Fitz, Lynzee Johnson, Assistant Coach Erin Leger
Row 2: Maria Laterza, Sarah Smrdel, Nikkie Flores, Shannon Minter, Brittney Engle, Assistant Coach Keila Whittington, Erica Allenspach
MAAC Championship Recap
The Marist Women's Basketball team won its third straight MAAC Tournament Championship at the Times Union Center in Albany, as they defeated Iona 83-63. This was Marist’s fourth tournament title in five years, and the second straight win over Iona in the final round. Sarah Smrdel was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player after she averaged 10.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game while shooting 73.3% from the field.
Rachele Fitz led all scorers in the championship game with 20 points, going 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Erica Allenspach scored 18 points with six rebounds, while Smrdel capped her tournament with 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Julianne Viani also scored 14 points and had a game-high six assists. Nikki Flores ended the game with 11 points and four assists with only one turnover. Flores and Fitz were named to the MAAC All-Tournament team. With the win, Marist went 21-0 against MAAC teams during the 2008 season.
The team shot 43.8% in the field and held Iona to a 33.8% average. Marist was outrebounded for only the third time in their last 13 games as the Gaels held a 41-40 advantage on the boards. The Red Foxes made up for that as they forced 16 turnovers. They also took care of the basketball, with 18 assists to only nine turnovers. Marist finished the season with an overall record of 32-3.
NCAA Tournament Recap
The team went on to rally past DePaul in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 76-57 win. Sophomore forward Rachele Fitz led the Red Foxes with 23 points and added five rebounds plus two blocks. After being down 13 points to DePaul with 14:13 to go, the seventh-seeded Marist women's basketball team outscored the Blue Demons 39-7 to win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Red Foxes held DePaul without a point for the final 8:30 of the game to win their 22nd straight game. Julianne Viani scored 18 points on 6-of-13 shots from the field, including four three-pointers. She scored 16 of her points in the second half and had five assists. Meg Dahlman, Sarah Smrdel, and Élise Caron each scored six points. Dahlman led all players with 11 rebounds as Caron added five assists.
The Red Foxes then faced the number two seeded LSU Tigers. They battled hard but fell to the Lady Tigers 68-49. Lady Tigers center Sylvia Fowles had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and guard Erica White had 15 points to help LSU beat Marist in the second round of the NCAA tournament, ending the Red Foxes' 22-game winning streak.
Julianne Viani led Marist with 21 points, hitting 5 3-pointers. Rachele Fitz had 11 points and nine rebounds. The Red Foxes' swarming defense held LSU to 39 percent shooting well into the second half. However, eight of the Lady Tigers' first 14 rebounds were on the offensive end, and LSU cashed in on a number of second chances. LSU also converted 19 turnovers into 28 points. Viani almost single-handedly kept Marist in the game in the first half of play, going 3-of-5 from 3-point range and scoring 13 of the Red Foxes' 27 first half points. Her heroics would not prove enough to propel the Red Foxes past the Tigers. Marist finished the season with an overall record of 32-3.