Page 18 - Marist Magazine

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I
t certainly looked bleak at the
time. With the Marist women’s basketball
team trailing by 13 points with 12 minutes
left in this year’s Metro Atlantic Athletic
Conference (MAAC) semifinal round, was
the team’s run of tournament championships
about to come to an end?
The Red Foxes answered with an
emphatic “no” as they outscored Niagara
41-14 over the remainder of regulation and
the ensuing overtime period to reach the
championship game. When he walked into
the postgame press conference, head coach
Brian Giorgis summarized the game in as
understated a tone as could be.
“Just another day at the office,” he said
with a smile.
And the best was truly yet to come. Two
days later, Marist won its seventh consecutive
MAAC championship and eighth overall by
defeating Fairfield 61-35. The Red Foxes set a
tournament record for fewest points allowed
in a championship game, while Giorgis won
his 250th game in 10 years as head coach.
The Red Foxes received the 13th seed in
the Raleigh Regional and drew fourth-seeded
Georgia in their first-round matchup. Led by
Athletics
B y M i k e F e r r a r o ’0 1
Mike Ferraro ’01 is sports information
director at Marist College.
Marist Women’s Basketball
Wins MAAC Championship
for Seventh Straight Year
The Red Foxes set a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament record for fewest points
allowed in a championship game, while Brian Giorgis won his 250th game in 10 years as head coach.
Courtesy of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Senior guard Corielle Yarde (left) swept the
MAAC’s major awards as she was named MAAC
Preseason Player of the Year, MAAC Player of
the Year, and MAAC Tournament Most Valuable
Player. Women’s basketball head coach Brian
Giorgis (right) was named MAAC Coach of the
Year for the sixth time.
21 points from senior guard Corielle Yarde
and 18 from senior forward Brandy Gang,
Marist earned a 76-70 triumph. The win was
the team’s fifth in the NCAA Tournament in
program history, as Marist won a first-round
game for the fourth time in six years.
In the second round, Marist fell just short
against St. Bonaventure, 66-63. But the loss
did not diminish a remarkable journey for
the Red Foxes, who had to overcome a con-
siderable amount of adversity just to become
MAAC champions again.
The Red Foxes came into the 2011-12
season having lost the reigning MAAC
Player of the Year (Erica Allenspach ’11), two
additional starters (Elise Caron ’11 and Kate
Oliver), and a key role player (Maria Laterza
’11) from a team that had won 31 games and
had advanced to the second round of the
NCAA Tournament. Marist was then dealt
an unexpected loss when senior point guard
Kristine Best suffered a knee injury in early
December and was lost for the remainder
of the season. The period of transition came
while the Red Foxes were facing a daunting
nonconference schedule, and they entered
January with a 5-6 record.
Once conference play began, the Red
Foxes quickly matured as a team as they won
20 out of 21 games in the MAAC regular
season and tournament. The team won the
MAAC regular season championship for the
ninth straight year. Along the way, Marist’s
streak of consecutive victories against confer-
ence opponents, which began in 2010, went
as high as 34. The contributions of some key
holdovers, coupled with the emergence of
several players, fueled another champion-
ship run.
Yarde swept the conference’s major
awards as she was named MAAC Preseason
Player of the Year, MAAC Player of the Year,
and MAAC Tournament Most Valuable
Player. The multitalented Yarde, who scored
her 1,000th career point in the season opener
against Villanova on Nov. 16, led the team
in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and
steals. Gang earned all-conference honors
for the second straight year as she was named
Second Team All-MAAC, and she was also
named to the MAAC All-Tournament Team.
Sophomore guard Leanne Ockenden, a
key reserve on last year’s team, moved into
the starting lineup and earned a reputation
as a lockdown defender and reliable long-
distance shooter. Her play was rewarded
with a Third Team All-MAAC selection.
Sophomore Casey Dulin stepped into the
starting point guard position following Best’s
injury and turned in a fine all-around sea-
son which saw her rank third on the team
in points, third in rebounds, and second in
assists as she was named to the MAAC All-
Tournament Team. Junior forward Kelsey
Beynnon, another first-year starter this sea-
son, had several spectacular performances
down the stretch. Beynnon totaled 23 points
and 16 rebounds in the semifinal victory over
Niagara.
The architect of the program was
rewarded for his efforts as well, as Giorgis
was named MAAC Coach of the Year for
the sixth time. This season, Marist enjoyed
its ninth straight 20-win season and its sixth
straight campaign with at least 25 wins, as
the team finished 26-8.
n
Courtesy of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
16
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