Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Marist at St. Peters, WBB

by Ray Floriani
JERSEY CITY, NJ - The first eight minutes were close. Then Marist went on a tear en route to a 79-38 victory over St. Peter's in a MAAC women's meeting. An impressive offensive team, the story of this game at Yanitelli Center, was the Red Foxes' outstanding defense.

Efficiency numbers:

St. Peter's6757

Marist entered the game a 65 possession team in MAAC play. Their offensive efficiency was 104 and the defensive number, an outstanding 66. They came to Yanitelli 15-0 in conference play and while they have the offensive weapons, Marist begins with defense.

At the half in this contest, Marist led 33-13. The pace saw Marist with 37 possessions and St. Peter's 36. The efficiency margin (offensive minus defensive) for the Red Foxes was off that chart at +53 with an 89 on offense and 36 on the defensive end.

The Four Factors:

St. Peter's30112630

Marist dominated in virtually every area. Outside shooting has been a concern of late to coach Brian Giorgis. Tonight the Red Foxes hit 10 of 21 beyond the arc. A significant number as league opposition, especially Fairfield who gave Marist their toughest MAAC test to date, before losing 54-52 a few weeks ago, will show a lot of zone. Erica Allensbach (3 of 6), Corielle Yarde (2 of 5) and Christine Best (2 of 2) all found the shooters touch from three.

Marist's Erica Allenspach prepares to inbound

The Defense Never Rests
With 12 minutes to play in the first half Marist had an 11-9 lead. St. Peter's was playing confidently and was able to get the ball inside. At that point I decided to chart the possessions the final dozen minutes of the half. The results epitomized the Marist D.

St. Peter's23417

Six of the St. Peter's possessions ended in turnovers. They did not score a field goal and the first points during that stretch were on two Teresa Manigasso free throws with 2:29 to play in the half.

Beside the forcing 20 St. Peter's turnovers and limiting them to 24% field goal shooting (6 of 12 from three boosted the eFG mark to 30%) from the floor, Giorgis was pleased with Marist's 10 blocked shots and 10 steals. Kate Oliver a 6-4 sophomore forward rejected four shots and altered a few more along the way.

The Marist defensive staple is man to man. The latter part of the second half with a big lead Giorgis zoned. Given their length and defensive reaction, Marist did not do a bad job in that defense. Still, the man to man, as noted is the primary option.

Celebration just after the buzzer

St. Bonaventure Connection
On the men's side when St. John's takes down another ranked opponent there is mention of the Red Storm's early season losses to Fordham and St. Bonaventure. With the women, Marist now has the nation's longest win streak at 21 games. Their last loss? December 4th 45-40, like St. John's at home, against the Lady Bonnies of St. Bonaventure. In an ironic twist the only other Marist setback was opening night against the St. John's women.

Marist is 25-2 (16-0 in the MAAC). St. Peter's 3-24 (3-13 in conference). Three Marist players wee in double figures. Erica Allenspach and Kelsey Beynnon shared scoring honors with 13 points each. Jynae Judson paced St. Peter's with 10 points. Marist had 11 players log at least 11 minutes of playing time. Marist held a 36-10 advantage in points in the paint and a 27-5 edge in points off turnovers.

Giorgis stated in post game interviews that this team is still on a mission. "They are playing with a little chip," he said. "We lost a great player Rachelle Fitz whose number was retired Friday. Some people wondered how we would do without her. These kids want to show they can do something special like go undefeated in MAAC play. That is their goal and focus."

Brian Giorgis interviewed on radio
Julianne Viani (l), recently starred for Marist
now does analysis for their broadcasts

Marist closes out the regular season with two interesting matchups, visiting Siena Friday and Fairfield on Sunday. St. Peter's will host Rider on Thursday and visit Loyola on Sunday.

A Side Trip in Jersey City...
An afternoon officiating assignment nearby gave me a chance to snap a few Hamilton Park Winter scenes. A beautiful scene, but a real contrast to the setting when Summer League is in full swing.

Courts wait silently, patiently
for the players to return

Close your eyes and picture
the fans surrounding the courts...
can you hear the crowd buzz?

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