POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Marist redshirt senior Kristina Danella (Manalapan, N.J.) scored her 1,000th career point in the first half, and the women's basketball team withstood a second-half charge by Canisius for a 54-40 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) win Friday night at McCann Arena.
Danella finished with eight points and a team-high five rebounds. Casey Dulin (Milford, Conn.) scored a game-high 12 points and Elizabeth Beynnon (Burlington, Vt.) was also in double figures with 11 points. The Marist defense came up with 10 steals and forced 17 Canisius turnovers while tying for a season-high with six blocks, including a career-high three blocks from Leanne Ockenden (Syracuse, N.Y.).
The Red Foxes (14-6, 9-0 MAAC) used an 8-0 run early on in the game to eliminate a two-point deficit and take an 11-5 lead with 15:06 left on the clock. Beynnon had four points in the run and Kristine Best (Commack, N.Y.) had a basket and an assist.
Canisius (8-12, 5-4 MAAC) scored five straight points of its own to pull back with one at 11-10.
Danella hit the 1,000-point milestone at the 9:21 mark, becoming the 19th player to do so in a Marist uniform.
Her three-pointer started a 15-3 run by the Red Foxes to close the first half. O'Connor followed Danella with a jumper and, after three scoreless minutes, Dulin hit two free throws. Best then hit a pull-up jumper on a fast break and, following a Canisius layup, O'Connor hit a three-pointer. Ockenden finished the run with a trey of her own with 29 seconds left in the half.
The Red Foxes led 26-13 at the midway point.
Marist extended its lead to 22, its largest of the night, by opening the second half on an 11-2 run over the first 5:04. Dulin went 1-2 from the free throw line on the half's first possession and Beynnon made a layup on the next trip down the court following a steal by Danella. Danella and Beynnon both hit three-pointers, sandwiched around a Best jumper to close out the run and bring the score to 37-15.
Canisius stepped up its defensive pressure, going into a full court press, and stymied the Red Foxes' offense, holding them without a field goal for over a nine-minute stretch. The Golden Griffins scored 14 out of 15 points during that span, pulling to within nine points at 38-29 before a Dulin layup broke the streak with 5:48 remaining, bringing the Marist lead back to double figures.
The lead dwindled again down to seven at 43-36 after a Canisius three-pointer with 2:38 left, but the Red Foxes finished the game on an 11-4 run, going 7-8 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the victory.
Marist hits the road for a Sunday matinee game at Saint Peter's. Tip-off is scheduled for noon.
Notes - Friday was the third time in the past seven games that Marist has held its opponent under 15 points in the first half (Jan. 11 vs. Loyola, Jan. 18 at Canisius)... Marist has now won 34 consecutive home games against MAAC opponments... For the fourth straight year and sixth time under head coach Brian Giorgis, the Red Foxes have completed the first half of the MAAC season with a perfect 9-0 record.