NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. - Brandy Gang (Hartville, Ohio) scored a career-high 21 points and the Marist women's basketball team clinched the top seed in the MAAC Tournament, winning a thriller, 79-77 in double overtime Sunday afternoon at the Gallagher Center. It was the first ever win in double-overtime in Marist's history.
Corielle Yarde (Reading, Pa.) hit a pair of free throws with 1:26 remaining in regulation as she scored the final four points for Marist to tie the score at 64 and send it to overtime.
Gang hit a layup and Kelsey Beynnon (Burlington, Vt.) made three out of four free throws to score the first five points of the extra session, giving the Red Foxes (20-7, 15-1 MAAC) a 69-68 lead. Consecutive buckets by Niagara (10-18, 7-9 MAAC) a three-point lead before Leanne Ockenden (Syracuse, N.Y.) hit her only three-pointer of the game with 1:24 left to send the game to a second overtime.
Beynnon started the second extra frame with a three-pointer After a Purple Eagles basket, Gang hit another layup, giving her the career-high in points to bring the lead back to three at 77-74. Following a three-point play by Niagara's Kayla Stroman that tied the score again, Casey Dulin (Milford, Conn.) hit a pair of free throws with 2:00 left that provided the final score. The Marist defense forced Niagara into a turnover and 0-3 shooting over the final couple of minutes to seal the win.
Yarde had her second double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. She also added five steals and seven assists, which put her in Marist's all-time top ten in assists with 298 in her career. She became the first player to be in Marist's top ten in points, rebounds and assists. Dulin had 12 points, five steals and four assists. Ockenden and Kristina Danella (Manalapan, N.J.) added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Both Yarde and Ockenden played 48 minutes as all five starters set new career-highs in minutes played.
The offense started out real slow as the Red Foxes started out 0-9 from the floor before Gang hit a three-pointer to pull within 8-4 nearly five minutes into the game. Gang had the first six points for Marist as they had to grind out a tough first few minutes on offense.
Danella came off the bench and provided a spark for the offense, scoring seven of nine Marist points to give them a 17-15 lead with 9:51 left. She hit two free throws before draining a three-pointer from the corner off of an assists from Natalie Gomez (Andover, Mass.). She added a layup after Yarde made one of her own.
The Red Foxes made a bit of a run to pull ahead by 11 at 30-19, but the Purple Eagles responded with a 10-2 run of their own to end the first period. Megan McGuinness hit two three-pointers in the final minutes of the half to close within three, 32-29 at the half.
Gang led the team at the break with 11 points and Danella was right behind her with 10. Gomez had four assists and Dulin had three steals. After their tough start, the Red Foxes finished the half shooting 41% (11-27).
Marist opened the second half on a 9-4 run to pull away again at 41-33 with 15:57 left. Yarde and Gang each hit a shot from downtown and Beynnon added a jumper in the stretch.
Niagara, however, would not go away and came back to tie the score at 43 with 13:25 left, using another 10-2 run to do so.
For the rest of the game, neither team could gain a lead of more than four, setting up the exciting finish.
The Red Foxes conclude their regular season with two games this week. The Red Foxes will host Iona on Thursday at 6 p.m. It is the team's Senior Day as the Red Foxes will honor their five seniors prior to the game. It is also the National MAAC Game of the Week and will be broadcast on ESPN3. The Red Foxes will play their final game on Sunday at Loyola.
Notes - The win gave Marist nine straight years with at least 20 wins... The Red Foxes are 19-11 all-time versus Niagara and Head Coach Brian Giorgis is 18-3 in his career against the Purple Eagles.