POUGHKEEPSIE - The Marist women’s basketball team (18-6, 12-2 MAAC) fell to Fairfield (15-8, 10-4 MAAC) on Saturday, 72-68. With the loss, the Red Foxes fall to 12-2 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play and 18-6 overall. Tonight’s game was the seventh annual Pack the House game, and Marist didn’t disappoint. The Red Foxes sold out McCann for the sixth time in program history and twice this season, for the first time in program history.
Senior Emma O’Connor led Marist with 17 points and six rebounds. Senior Leann Ockenden posted 12 points and a team-high four steals. Senior Casey Dulin contributed 14 points, four boards, and led the Red Foxes in assists with three. Redshirt junior Tori Jarosz posted 11 points and grabbed four rebounds.
In a first half that included seven lead changes, the Red Foxes managed to come out on top heading into the locker room. The opening minutes were tight as was the defense. Marist and Fairfield battled basket-for-basket, resulting in a close 13-12 score at the 11:08 mark with the Red Foxes on top. A 9-2 run by Fairfield put the Stags up by as many as six with 7:06 to play. Four different Stags scored for Fairfield in the run.
Ockenden single-handedly pulled Marist within one point with 6:15 to play. A layup by Fairfield’s Christelle Akon-Akech followed by three free-throws by Dulin tied the game at 23 all at the 5:13 mark. Sophomore Sydney Coffey drove to the basket for a layup to give Marist its first lead of the game since the 11:08 mark. Each team would post four points apiece to head into the locker room with Marist on top, 29-27.
Sophomore Madeline Blais opened up the second half with a three followed by an O’Connor layup and trip to the charity stripe, putting the Red Foxes ahead by seven at the 18:37 mark. Fairfield responded with a 7-0 run at Katie Cizynski tied it at 35 with 15:38 to play. Even play by both teams knotted the score back at 39 with 13:41 to go. Fairfield hit 1-of-2 shots from the line to take a slight 40-39 lead, but not for long as Marist posted a 4-0 run, including baskets by Jarosz and O’Connor, to take a 43-40 lead at the 11:42 mark.
Another shot-for-shot sequence resulted in a 52-48 score, advantage Marist, at the 7:09 mark, including four from O’Connor and two apiece by Ockenden and Jarosz. Jarosz scored the next three points for the Red Foxes, split by to Stags’ baskets, posting a 55-52 lead for Marist with 4:59 to play.
Fairfield’s Felicia DaCruz hit a jumper followed by a three to push the Stags ahead 57-55 with 3:53 to play in regulation. Coffey had another perfect trip to the free-throw line to tie the game at 57 but it was short lived as Fairfield’s Alexys Vazquez hit to straight fade-away threes from the top of the key to put the Stag’s back up 63-57 at the 2:13 mark.
The excitement continued in front of a packed crowd at McCann as O’Connor hit a fade-away three of her own to pull Marist within three with 1:19 to play. Another three by Vazquez put Fairfield back ahead by six with 43.4 seconds to go. Dulin get fouled on an attempted layup and is sent to the line, making 1-of-2, posting a 66-61 score with 42.1 seconds left. Two free-throws by DaCruz extended the Stags lead to seven. Ockenden is fouled on the inbound, making 1-of-2, trailing 68-62 with 28.7 seconds to play. Two successful shots by Vazquez increased the Stags lead to eight but Dulin hit a clutch three-ball to pull the Red Foxes within five with 22.4 seconds to play. Cizynski hit both foul shots for the Stags, putting Fairfield up 72-68. Dulin hit a three at the buzzer but it was no avail as the Stags downed Marist, 72-68.