March 22, 2008

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BATON ROUGE, LA. - 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 76-57 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La. Saturday night. The Red Foxes held DePaul without a point for the final 8:30 of the game to win their 22nd straight game. Sophomore forward Rachele Fitz (Seven Hills, Ohio) led the Red Foxes with 23 points and added five rebounds and two blocks.

Julianne Viani (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) 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 (Spencerport, N.Y.), Sarah Smrdel (Mentor, Ohio), and Élise Caron (Quebec, Canada) each scored six points. Dahlman led all players with 11 rebounds as Caron added five assists.

The two teams traded baskets to start the game, getting out to a 7-7 tie. DePaul jumped out on an 8-3 run to take a 15-10 lead behind the low post play of Caprice Smith. The Red Foxes came back to take their first lead of the game on a three-pointer by Lynzee Johnson (Bellbrook, Ohio) and a Fitz three-point play to take a 16-15 lead. The Blue Demons would take the lead back, as a Taylor Pikes triple gave DePaul a 20-18 lead.

In a back and forth half, Marist would regain the lead on baskets from Fitz and Caron, going ahead 22-20 with 9:01 to go. Allie Quigley hit two three-pointers on consecutive possessions to spark an 8-0 run for DePaul to give them a 28-22 lead. Marist scored the next six points to get within two, but a Deidre Naughton three with 22 seconds left gave DePaul a 37-31 lead at halftime.

The Blue Demons jumped out to their largest lead of the game in the second half, going ahead 50-37 with 14:13 to go. Marist would start their comeback with a Viani three-pointer, sparking a quick 7-2 spurt to pull within eight, 52-44, with 13:04 to go. After Pikes put DePaul ahead 55-44 with 12:41 to go, the Red Foxes made four three-pointers, including three in a row by Viani, in a 14-0 run to go ahead 58-55 with 8:55 to go. Smith would get the Blue Demons within one, 58-57, with 8:30 to go, but that would end up being DePaul's last basket and points of the night. Marist ended the night on a 19-0 run and forced the Blue Demons to go 0-for-14 from the field.

Marist (32-2) shot 46.7% from the field on Saturday night, including a 57.7% mark in the second half. The Red Foxes held DePaul to 28.1% from the field and 1-of-11 from the three-point arc in the second half. The Blue Demons shot 34.7% from the field and 24% from beyond the arc. Marist had 20 assists to only eight turnovers. DePaul outrebounded Marist 44-38 and finish their season 20-12.

The Red Foxes will take on the second-seed in the New Orleans Region LSU on Monday night. The Lady Tigers defeated Jackson State 66-32 on Saturday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. eastern and will be telecast on ESPN2.