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Women's Basketball Returns From 12-Day Layoff To Face Yale

Courtesy: Marist Athletics
         
Release: December 20, 2012
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Courtesy: Marist Athletics

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Marist returns after a 12-day break for final exams to play their final game before Christmas as they travel to Yale for a 6 p.m. game Saturday night. The Red Foxes are looking to snap a two-game losing skid as well as pick up their first road win of the season.

Last Time Out

Marist fought back to force overtime, but ultimately fell by a 62-56 score to Boston University on Saturday, Dec. 8, in the final non-conference home game of the season for the Red Foxes. It was the first home loss

Casey Dulin (Milford, Conn.) led all players with 15 points while also grabbing seven rebounds and adding three assists and three steals.

Emma O'Connor (Lynbrook, N.Y.) was also in double figures with 10 points and had six boards.

Elizabeth Beynnon (Burlington, Vt.) and Kristina Danella (Manalapan, N.J.) both finished just short of double-doubles as Beynnon had nine points and eight rebounds and Danella had seven points and nine rebounds.

Leanne Ockenden (Syracuse, N.Y.) finished with eight points and nearly doubled her career-high with seven assists.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS

Yale enters the game at 3-6 on the season but has won its past two games over Fordham and St. Francis Brooklyn.

The Bulldogs are led by Sarah Halejian and Janna Graf who are both in double digits in scoring with 13.7 and 11.2 points per game, respectively. Graf is also the team's leading rebounder, grabbing 6.0 boards per game and has a team high 22 steals. Halejian leads the Bulldogs with 25 assists on the season and Megan Vasquez is right behind her with 24. Meredith Boardman is second in rebounding with 5.3 RPG and Zenab Keita is third with 5.0 RPG. Keita also leads Yale with eight blocks and a .492 shooting percentage.

HISTORY LESSON - MARIST VS. YALE

Thursday will be the fourth meeting all time between the two programs.

Marist holds a 2-1 series lead, having one the last two matchups, including a 78-64 win at McCann Arena in the second game of the 2011-12 season.

In last year's meeting, Casey Dulin set new career-highs with 18 points and seven rebounds on an impressive 7-10 from the field. Corielle Yarde (Reading, Pa.) led the Red Foxes in scoring with 24 points and added nine rebounds.

MARIST VS. THE IVY LEAGUE

Thursday is the second and final meeting of the regular season for Marist against opponents from the Ivy League. The Red Foxes defeated 2012 Ivy League champion Princeton on Nov. 17.

Last season, the Red Foxes played both Princeton and Yale in the non-conference portion of their schedule and split the two games. They beat the Bulldogs at home before losing at Princeton three days later.

Overall, the Red Foxes are 26-23 against members of the Ivy League, including their win over Princeton last month. They have improved that record with a 7-1 mark over the past five seasons.

RANKED OPPONENTS

Marist is 1-16 all-time versus ranked opponents when the matchup has come during the regular season.

After not playing a ranked opponent in for the past two seasons, the Red Foxes have already played three top-25 teams this year, falling to #14/12 Purdue (71-50), #2 UConn (81-39) and #12 Oklahoma (68-55).

Their one win however came in their last game prior to this season when they beat #21 Nebraska 63-60 in the 2009-2010 season.

STARTING LINEUPS

After using eight different lineups all of last season, Head Coach Brian Giorgis has already used four different starting lineups this year.

So far, the only three players that have stayed locked in the starting five are Leanne Ockenden at guard and Elizabeth Beynnon and Emma O'Connor at the forward positions.

Casey Dulin has started all but one game as she was not in the starting five versus Princeton due to back spasms. Natalie Gomez has started each game but the first two as the point. Kristina Danella, Kristine Best and Sydney Coffey have all also made one start.

Coffey made her first career start in just her third career game, becoming the fastest player to join the starting lineup in Giorgis' tenure.

RANKED AMONGST THE MID-MAJORS

After receiving one vote in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Preseason Poll, the Red Foxes moved up to as many as seven votes after the first weekend of games.

Marist has been ranked all season in the top 10 of the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major poll. The Red Foxes currently sit at #8, while their highest ranking of the season has been at #6. They are the only team from the MAAC in the Top-25.

Also making the list is Princeton at #7, who Marist defeated 56-45 on Nov. 17 in Poughkeepsie when the Tigers were ranked 4th. Hartford, who beat Marist in the second game of the season, is right behind the Red Foxes at #11. Marist also defeated Hofstra, who sits just outside the Top-25 and has been in and out of the the rankings, on Nov. 28, 85-70. Boston University, who beat Marist in overtime on Dec. 8 is #14 in the poll.

SHARP-SHOOTING BEYNNON

Beynnon has proven to be an accurate shooter in her two seasons as a starter. After finishing second in the MAAC last season with a .486 field goal percentage, Beynnon is shooting at a .458 clip so far this season. She holds two of the top-ten spots for single game field goal percentage in Marist history. Against Wake Forest on 11/24, Beynnon hit an incredibe eight of nine (.889) shots from the field, good for a tie for fourth all-time. She knocked herself down a peg as last year, when she was known as Kelsey, she shot 10-12 (.833) from the field versus Canisius on Feb. 17 which is now tied for 9th all-time. 

O'CONNOR FINDING HER STRIDE

After never reaching double digits in scoring in her first two-plus seasons, O'Connor has scored at least 10 points in five of Marist's past six games. That includes a career-high 18 points against #2 UConn on Nov. 23, which she also tied on Dec. 2 at #12 Oklahoma. She has already surpassed her scoring total from last season.

OCKENDEN ALREADY INTO THE BOOKS
With her four three-pointers against Hofstra, Ockenden put herself into the Top-10 all-time at Marist for three-pointers made. She currently sits at 110 for her career, putting her ninth all-time at Marist. She sits six treys behind Nina Vecchio (116) for eighth. Jean-Marie Lesko holds the top spot on the chart with 249 made three-pointers.

TALE OF TWO DULINS

After shooting .286 in the Red Foxes first five games, Dulin has gone 19-41 (.463) the past four games, upping her field goal percentage to .403 on the season. She has also recorded 15 assists while committing only five turnovers in those games. In her first five games, Dulin only had eight asists and committed 19 turnovers.

DANELLA OFF THE BENCH

After starting the first game this season, Danella, a fifth-year senior, has proven to be even more valuable off the bench. She leads the team in rebounding (4.9 RPG) and is second on the team in three-pointers made (12) while averaging 19.1 minutes per game.

EARLY MORNING COFFEY

Following her performance on Nov. 17 versus Princeton, in just her third carere game, freshman Sydney Coffey was named the MAAC Rookie of the Week.

On defense, Coffey was in charge of covering 2012 All-American Niveen Rasheed and held her to just 3-17 shooting for the game and forced her into five turnovers. Offensively, Coffey scored 13 points for the Red Foxes while more than doubling her previous career-high with 31 minutes.

It was the first weekly award of Coffey's young career and first on the season for the Red Foxes.

MUCH DESERVED CONTRACT EXTENSION

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, Marist Director of Athletics Tim Murray that head women's basketball coach Brian Giorgis has signed a contract extension through the 2020-21 season.

Murray on contract: "Brian has established our program as a consistent Top-40 team in the country. I'm thrilled with the idea of him spending his entire collegiate coaching career here at Marist. He's a special coach, and a special person. And I am excited that he will provide the Hudson River Valley excellent women's college basketball for many years."

Giorgis on contract: "I can't thank Marist College enough for offering me this extension and having the faith in me to lead this program into the next decade. We may not be a BCS program, but the support by both the administration and community is comparable or better than any BCS program in the country. I am truly humbled and appreciative of what Marist College has done for me during my tenure here and I thank God every day for bringing me here to Marist to be a part of this special community. I am truly blessed."

THE BIG 5-0-0

With the first two wins of this season, 66-45 over Vermont and 56-45 over Princeton. the Marist women's basketball program now stands at 500 wins since becoming a Division I program in the 1981-1982 season

Of those 500 wins, 253 belong to Giorgis.

ALL TO FAMILIAR AT 1-1

This season marks the third straight year, and eighth time in Head Coach Brian Giorgis' 11-year career, that the Red Foxes have started off with a 1-1 record.

FIVE NAMED PRESEASON ALL-MAAC

On Thursday, Nov. 1, the Red Foxes had a league-high five players named to the 2012 All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

This is the sixth consecutive year the Red Foxes had three or more players selected to be on the Pre-Season All-MAAC teams.

Junior guard Leanne Ockenden (Syracuse, N.Y.) was named to the First Team and is now up for MAAC Preseason Player of the Year, which will be announced during Friday's Award Show.

Senior forward Elizabeth Beynnon (Burlington, Vt.) was selected to the Second Team.

Junior guard Casey Dulin (Milford. Conn.), redshirt sophomore forward Tori Jarosz (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) and redshirt senior Kristina Danella (Manalapan, N.J.) were all named to the Third Team.

CAPTAINS

The trio of senior forward Elizabeth Beynnon (Burlington, Vt.) and junior guards Casey Dulin (Milford, Conn.) and Leanne Ockenden (Syracuse, N.Y.) will lead the 2012-13 Marist squad.

Giorgis on his three captains: "I am very happy that we have three members of our team that are capable of being quality leaders," Giorgis said. "Elizabeth, Casey and Leanne all started for us last year and were a big reason for our success. We will count on their veteran leadership this season both on and off the court to lead us in our challenging upcoming season."

MARIST SELECTED TO FINISH FIRST

For the sixth consecutive season, the Red Foxes were picked to finish first in the MAAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, announced Friday at the MAAC Preseason Awards Show which was held at McCann Arena and aired on ESPN3.

Marist was the unanimous choice, with all 10 of the first-place votes.

YET ANOTHER TOUGH SCHEDULE

The Red Foxes continue their recent trend of playing some of the nation's best competition in the non-conference portion of their schedule.

This season's slate featuring teams from five of the six power conferences and five of the 11 teams played in last year's NCAA Tournament while four others participated in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).

Included in the non-conference schedule are four teams that are ranked in the top 20 of the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll. Leading that group is the University of Connecticut (#2), followed by Kentucky (#7), Oklahoma ((#14) and Purdue (#18).
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