POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Freshman Sydney Coffey (New Hope, Minn.), making her first career start, sparked the Marist women's basketball team to a 56-45 victory over Princeton Saturday night at McCann Arena. Princeton entered the game ranked fourth amongst mid-major schools.
Coffey, who was in charge defensively of covering 2012 All-American Niveen Rasheed, scored 13 points for the Red Foxes and chipped in three rebounds while playing 31 minutes. She finished 4-7 from the field and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. Leanne Ockenden (Syracuse, N.Y.) finished with game-highs 16 points and four rebounds while playing 36 minutes. Kristina Danella (Manalapan, N.J.) had nine points, including going 7-8 from the free throw line, and six rebounds while Elizabeth Beynnon (Burlington, Vt.) finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
For the third straight game to start the season, Marist (2-1) had to battle through a tough offensive start in the first half. It took the Red Foxes nearly 10 minutes to reach double digits, yet they trailed by only three points as the defense continued to force Princeton (1-1) to turn the ball over.
Three consecutive baskets, two layups by Emma O'Connor (Lynbrook, N.Y) and Coffey and a jumper by Beynnon gave Marist a brief lead at 16-15 with 5:44 remaining in the opening period, but Princeton jumped back ahead with an 8-0 run to open a 23-15 lead.
A bucket by Coffey with 11 seconds left Marist trailing just 23-20 at halftime.
The start of the second half went much the same as the first as the Red Foxes inched closer to Princeton but the Tigers always found an answer to extend their lead.
With Princeton leading 32-27, Ockenden started a rally by hitting two free throws. On the ensuing possession, she then made a steal and fed Coffey on a fast break for a short jumper to pull Marist within one at 32-31.
Following a Princeton basket, the Red Foxes took their first lead of the second half with a 7-0 run.Two Danella free throws started the streak and then Madeline Blais (Exeter, N.H.) made a great defensive play on a Princeton fast break forcing a bad shot. Danella got the defensive rebound and hit Ockenden for a breakaway basket to give Marist a 35-34 lead. Ockenden then hit the Red Foxes' first three-pointer of the game to give Marist a four-point lead at 38-34.
The Red Foxes never trailed the rest of the way as Beynnon and Coffey hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions to extend the lead to 46-38 with 4:14 remaining. They then went a combined 10-12 from the charity stripe down the stretch to seal the victory.
Marist will head to the U.S. Virgin Islands for Thanksgiving break to take part in the Paradise Jam tournament. The Red Foxes will face Purdue, Connecticut and Wake Forest over a three-day stretch from Thursday-Saturday.
Notes - The win was the 500th in the program's Diviaion I history, with 253 of those coming under Head Coach Brian Giorgis... It was also the first win over Princeton as it was only the second meeting between the two programs, with the Tigers winning the first matchup last season... Coffey became the quickest player to start under Giorgis, enter the starting lineup in just three games. Previously, Julianne Viani started in her first game, but that came after practicing for a full year with the team after redshirting a season following a transfer.