NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. - The Marist women's basketball team received a well-rounded team effort, defeating Niagara 71-51 on the road Sunday afternoon in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) game.
Elizabeth Beynnon (Burlington, Vt.) finished with a game-high 17 points, leading three players in double figures. Sydney Coffey (New Hope, Minn.) had a career-high 16 points including going a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line. Emma O'Connor (Lynbrook, N.Y.) just missed her first career double-double, scoring 14 points and adding eight rebounds. Casey Dulin (Milford, Conn.) had eight points to go along with five assists and four steals. As a team, the Red Foxes were 23-24 (96%) from the free throw line and had 17 assists on 22 made field goals while only committing 10 turnovers. The defense had 10 steals and forced 18 Niagara turnovers.
The offense started slow for Marist (11-6, 6-0 MAAC), making just two of its first 15 shots and falling behind 7-4 over the game's first 7:49. O'Connor eventually tied the score at 9 with a layups, but Niagara (8-9, 3-3 MAAC) reclaimed the lead right away with a three-pointer, 12-9 with 8:52 left.
From there however, Coffey went on a personal 9-2 run to give the Red Foxes their first lead of the game at 18-14 with 5:38 left in the first half. She hit a jumper then converted a three-point play with a layup and a free throw. Following a Purple Eagles' bucket, she hit another four free throws in four attempts.
The Red Foxes extended their lead to double digits, taking a 27-16 lead at the 2:05 mark of the first half with another 9-2 run. Dulin hit a layup to start the streak before Coffey made another pair of free throws. Madeline Blais (Exeter, N.H.) hit a three-pointer to end the run.
Niagara scored the half's final five points to close within 27-21 at halftime.
Marist opened the second half on a 16-4 run over the first five and a half minutes. Coffey and O'Connor hit consecutive three-pointers in the first minute to extend the lead to 33-21 and force a quick timeout by the Purple Eagles. Out of the break O'Connor hit a layup and, after a Niagara basket, Beynnon made back-to-back layups - one on a breakaway on a long pass from Kristina Danella (Manalapan, N.J.) and one on an assist from Coffey on a quick cut to the basket. A couple of possessions later she hit another layup and Dulin made a pair of free throws to finish the run.
From there, however, Niagara went on an 18-2 run over a 4:50 span to cut the Marist lead to just two points at 45-43 with 8:23 remaining.
Marist came out of a timeout and answered with an 8-0 run, consisting of layups by Dulin, O'Connor and Beynnon sandwiched around two more Coffey free throws, to bring the lead back to 10 at 53-43 with 4:25 left on the clock
The Purple Eagles would only get within seven points the rest of the way as Marist went 12-12 from the free throw line over the final 3:32, including a perfect 8-8 from Danella, to seal the victory.
Marist concludes its three-game road trip with on Friday afternoon when they travel to Manhattan for a 4 p.m. game that will be broadcast on ESPN3. Last year, the Jaspers were the only MAAC team to beat Marist, defeating the Red Foxes 48-44 at Draddy Gymnasium.
Notes - Marist moved to 9-0 this season when scoring at least 60 points... The Red Foxes are now 6-0 in conference play, the eighth straight year they have started by winning at least the first six MAAC games.