NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. - The Marist women's basketball team lengthened their longest wining streak of the season Friday night, defeating Niagara 75-54 at the Gallagher Center. This was the 12th straight win for the Red Foxes, and the 18th consecutive win in MAAC play. Rachele Fitz (Seven Hills, Ohio) led all scorers with 23 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Erica Allenspach (Miamisburg, Ohio) was the other Marist player in double-figures, scoring 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field with three rebounds and three steals. Senior center Meg Dahlman (Spencerport, N.Y) had nine points and nine rebounds for the Red Foxes, as Sarah Smrdel (Mentor, Ohio) and Lynzee Johnson (Bellbrook, Ohio) added 15 points from the bench.
Marist opened the game with a 9-0 run, powered by four points from Fitz and a Nikki Flores (Montvale, N.J.) three-point play. Niagara responded with the next seven points to get within two with 13:53 to go in the opening half. After a jumper from Erika Harris got Niagara within three at 12-9, the Red Foxes went on another big run. Marist went on another 9-0 run, capped by a pair of free throws from Julianne Viani (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) to take a 21-9 lead with 8:55 to go in the first half. A Johnson three-point play gave Marist their largest lead of the first half, 28-13, with 5:47 to go in the half. The Purple Eagles would come back and cut the deficit to eight, 35-27, to end the half.
Niagara scored the first four points of the second half to get within four of the Red Foxes, making the score 35-31 1:05 in. Marist responded with a 12-2 run powered by six points from Fitz to take a 47-33 lead, their largest of the game at that point. Niagara would only get as close as 11 the rest of the way, as Marist made all 16 of their free throws in the second half to pull away with a 21 point win.
Marist (22-2, 12-0 MAAC) shot 43.3% from the field despite making 1-of-20 three-point attempts. The Red Foxes were 22-of-25 from the free throw line for 88%. Niagara shot 36.2% from the field and 25% from three-point distance. The rebounding edge favored Marist 40-36, as the Red Foxes turned 11 offensive rebounds into nine second-chance points. The Red Foxes dominated the lane, scoring 40 points in the paint.
Niagara (5-18, 3-9 MAAC) was led in scoring by Erika Harris, who scored 14 points. Jennifer McNamee came off the bench to score nine points, as Sara Prybyl added eight points.
Marist returns to action Sunday afternoon as they take on Canisius in Buffalo, N.Y. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.