Women’s Basketball Set For Friday Night Showdown With Niagara On ESPNU
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Marist returns home for the first of three straight home games when it hosts Niagara Friday night at 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU with former Marist standout Julianne Viani getting the call along with Ed Cohen. The same duo did Marist's season-opener versus Vermont on ESPN3. Fans can also listen to the game on the Red Fox Network and on the radio on WKIP 1450 AM - Poughkeepsie. Geoff Brault will be providing play-by-play and Kristy Nix will be the color analyst. The pregame show will begin at 4:45 PM.
SCOUTING THE PURPLE EAGLES
Niagara enters Sunday at 12-11 overall and 7-4 in the MAAC. The Purple Eagles, who were picked to finish second in the MAAC Coaches' Preseason Poll, currently sit in a tie for third place with Iona. They have won their past three games over Rider, Loyola and Saint Peter's.
The Purple Eagles are led offensively by Lauren Gatto, their only player in double figures in scoring with 15.3 PPG and is tops in the conference with a .500 shooting percentage. She also leads the team in rebounding with 6.5 RPG. Kayla Stroman, a high school teammate of Leanne Ockenden, is second in the confernce with 4.0 assists per game and has 56 steals on the season.
HISTORY LESSON - MARIST VS. NIAGARA
This will be the 33rd meeting all-time between the Red Foxes and Purple Eagles and the second of this season. Back on Jan. 20, Marist won on the road by a 71-51 score. Elizabeth Beynnon had a game-high 17 points, leading three players in double figures. Sydney Coffey had a career-high 16 points including going a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line. Emma O'Connor just missed her first career double-double, scoring 14 points and adding eight rebounds. Casey Dulin 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.
The Red Foxes have won the past six meetings going back to the 2009-10 season including wins in the 2010 MAAC Semifinals and last season's epic overtime semifinal matchup. In the regular season last year, the Red Foxes won an easy 63-44 decision at home but it took everything they had to win a 79-77 double overtime thriller at Niagara.
Last Time Out
Marist used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to pull away for a 66-48 victory at Siena Sunday afternoon in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) game.
Casey Dulin (Milford, Conn.) scored a game-high 14 points to go along with four assists and three rebounds. She also was one of three Red Foxes to register two blocks, the second time she has done that in as many games.
Emma O'Connor (Lynbrook, N.Y.) finished one rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 10 points to go along with a new personal best of nine rebounds.
NAILING THEIR FREE THROWS
After Marist's 96% (23-24) effort from the free throw line on Jan. 20 at Niagara, and Sunday's 91.7% (11-12) performance, the Red Foxes rank third in the country in free-throw percentage (.786).
Three players sit in or just outside the top-100 in the country for individual free throw percentage. Kristina Danella (85.2%) sits 31st, Casey Dulin (81.9%) is 70th and Sydney Coffey (79.7%) is 114th.
Even though she has only played at Marist for 1+ seasons, Danella already qualifies to rank first all-time in program history in free throw percentage, having gone 129-147 (.878).
STRONG TO THE BASKET
Marist has gone to the charity stripe 29 times (1.3/game) this year with the opportunity to complete a three-point play and have completed 22 of those chances.
Elizabeth Beynnon leads the way with eight "And One" opportunities, completing the task six times. Sydney Coffey is a perfect 7-7 and Casey Dulin and Kristina Danella have each converted four and three three-point plays, respectively. Emma O'Connor is also 2-2 on the season.
Last season, in 34 games, the Red Foxes went 33-45 in these situations, attempting 1.3 three-point plays per game.
After using eight different lineups all of last season, Head Coach Brian Giorgis has used six different starting lineups this year.
Casey Dulin has started all but two games as she was not in the starting lineup versus Princeton due to back spasms and against Iona due to an excused absence from practice. Emma O'Connor did not start two games due to a wrist injury. Natalie Gomez started 10 consecutive games from Nov. 17 through Jan. 4, but Kristine Best has started 10 of the past 11 games at the point guard position. Kristina Danella has also made three starts, and Sydney Coffey has made two.
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
Marist had been ranked in the top 10 of the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major poll, but had fallen into the lower teens for the past few weeks. However, Marist has jumped back up to #9 this week. The Red Foxes have reached as high as sixth and are the only team from the MAAC in the Top-25. Also making the list is Princeton at #6, who Marist defeated 56-45 on Nov. 17 in Poughkeepsie when the Tigers were ranked 4th. Boston University, who beat the Red Foxes, is also ranked, sitting at #12. Marist also fell to Hartford, while defeating Hofstra, who both sit just outside the Top-25, and have been in and out of the rankings.
MUCH DESERVED CONTRACT EXTENSION
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 TOO FAMILIAR
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.
Also for the second straight year, Marist finished non-conference play under .500 with a 5-6 record. Last year, the Red Foxes went on to win 20 of their next 21 to claim their seventh straight MAAC Championship.
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.
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' Preseason Poll. Leading that group is the University of Connecticut (#2), followed by Kentucky (#7), Oklahoma ((#14) and Purdue (#18).