Row 1: Rachele Fitz, Mary Alice Duff, Captain Meg Dahlman, Courtney Kolesar
Row 2: Manager Chera Watson, Julianne Viani, Captain Alisa Kresge, Lynzee Johnson, Kristin Hein, Nikki Flores, Assistant Coach Erin Leger
Row 3: Head Coach Brian Giorgis, Alexis Waters, Shannon Minter, Sarah Smrdel, Brittnay Engle, Manager James McGrath, Athletic Trainer Tim Smith, Associate Head Coach Megan Gebbia, Assistant Coach Jada Pierce
MAAC Championship Recap
For the third time in four seasons, the Marist women's basketball team went to the NCAA Tournament after a victory in the 2007 MAAC Championship. The top-seeded Red Foxes earned a 64-57 victory in overtime over second-seeded Iona in a game which featured nine lead changes and five ties. The Red Foxes built a nine-point first-half lead on strength of a 15-3 run, and took a 28-23 halftime lead. However, after a basket by red-shirt sophomore guard Julianne Viani Marist had a 40-34 lead with 11:11 to play in the second half. Iona went on a 7-0 run to take the lead as the Red Foxes went scoreless over the next 2:31.
The rest of regulation featured eight lead changes and two ties. A basket by Dahlman with 1:36 remaining gave Marist a 52-51 lead. Iona took the lead back with two free throws 21 seconds later. With 52 seconds remaining, Viani split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 53 apiece. Junior guard Nikki Flores missed an 18-foot jumper in the waning seconds, and the game went to overtime. Marist never trailed in the overtime. A basket by Dahlman 30 seconds into the extra period gave Marist the lead for good. Flores' first basket of the game put Marist up five with 38 seconds left. Flores then hit two free throws with under 10 seconds to play for the game's final points.
Red-shirt junior center Meg Dahlman had a season-high 21 points, tied for the team high with eight rebounds and blocked a career-high five shots. Dahlman shot 10-for-16 from the field, hit a three-pointer and was named to the All-Tournament team. Freshman forward Rachele Fitz, who scored 19 points and tied Dahlman for the team lead in rebounding with eight, was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Fitz averaged 21.0 points and 10.7 rebounds in the tournament's three games, and was 25-for-34 from the line. Marist shot 41.8 percent from the field and held Iona to 34.4 percent, including 16.7 percent shooting in overtime. The Red Foxes committed just eight turnovers in the game. Marist finished 29-6 in its most successful season to date after making it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament.
NCAA Championship Recap
After the MAAC Tournament, the team earned the 13th seed in the Dayton Region. The Red Foxes began the NCAA tournament with a first round victory over Ohio State 67-63 to reach the second round of the tournament for the first time in school history. Julianne Viani made six 3-pointers, including three in an 18-5 second-half run that also featured a three by Meg Dahlman, who finished with 24 points, as Marist earned a second round date with Middle Tennessee who were on a nation-long 27-game winning streak. Viani converted two free throws with 18.1 seconds left after Ohio State cut the lead to three, then Ashlee Trebilcock hit a long 3 on the other end for the Buckeyes. Nikki Flores swished a pair of free throws for Marist with 8.2 seconds to go and her team secured a loose ball as the buzzer sounded - sending off a wild celebration at midcourt.
In the Second Round, the team won 73-59 over Middle Tennessee to advance to the Sweet 16. Nikki Flores lead Marist in scoring with 21 points, Julianne Viani and Meg Dahlman added 13 apiece, and freshman Lynzee Johnson scored all seven of her points during a key 15-2 run late in the second half. Alisa Kresge added nine assists and was instrumental in overcoming Middle Tennessee’s press defense. With Kresge running the show, Marist forced Middle Tennessee to drop out of its press in the second half. After a strong second half run pushed the lead to 11 with just under seven minutes remaining, Marist never looked back as they went on to win easily down the stretch.
The season would come to a close against Hall of Fame Coach Pat Summitt and the powerhouse Tennessee Lady Vols as Marist fell 65-46. Meg Dahlman had 16 points and Rachele Fitz 13 for Marist, which had never won a tournament game prior to the 2007 NCAA Tournament. After a tough fight early Tennessee would prove to be just too much for Marist to handle as the Vols took a 42-21 lead into halftime. Marist played hard in the second half but could not make a dent in the Tennessee lead. Marist finished 29-6 in its most successful season to date.