NEW ROCHELLE – The Marist women’s basketball team (24-6, 18-2 MAAC) defeated Iona (25-4, 18-2 MAAC) in a battle of the top two seeds on Sunday, 79-67. With the win, the Red Foxes won their 11th consecutive Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) regular season title. Marist finished the regular season 24-6 overall and 18-2 in the conference.
Redshirt junior Tori Jarosz finished with her first career double-double with career-highs in both points and rebounds with 21 and 14, respectively. Senior Casey Dulin finished with 19 points, six boards, and five assists. Senior Emma O’Connor had 11 points and five rebounds. Senior Leanne Ockenden finished with eight points and six boards.
Marist had 45 rebounds, 14 assists, and finished the game with a 50.9 field goal percentage. Damika Martinez led the Gaels with 20 points and Sabrina Jeridore posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Marist opened the first half on a 10-4 run to lead by six with 15:24 left in the half. The two teams shot basket-for-basket over the following six minutes as Iona gained its first lead of the game at the 9:04 mark, 22-21. Jarosz drove to the basket for a layup to give Marist back the lead at the 7:46 mark but it was short lived as Iona’s Cassidee Ranger hit a three from the right side to post a 25-23 Gaels lead.
Dulin grabbed an offensive rebound and converted it into a layup to knot the game at 25 with 6:54 to go. A perfect trip to the charity stripe by Sabrina Jeridore edged the Gaels ahead but Dulin had another game tying layup at the 6:17 mark for the third tie score of the half. Aleesha Powell hit a fade-away jumper to push Iona ahead 29-27 but an O’Connor steal and breakaway layup locked the score at 29 with 4:32 to go.
Back-to-back layups by Dulin and Jarosz gave Marist a four point lead with 2:47 to play in the first half. Eight points by Iona and seven by the Red Foxes would post a 40-37 lead at the half in favor of Marist. Marist opened up the second half on a 17-2 run, fueled by six points from Jarosz to lead 57-39 at the 13:32 mark. Aaliyah Robinson broke up the run for the Gales with a three with 12:48 to go in the half. Blais’ jumper kicked off a 6-0 run to give Marist a 63-42 lead at the 10:40 mark. Iona responded with a 7-0 run with all points by Damika Martinez and Joy Adams to cut the Red Fox lead to 14 with 8:30 to go.
Buckets by Jarosz and Dulin followed by four points by Adams for the Gaels posted a 67-55 score with 5:57 left in the second half. The teams shot basket-for-basket over the following three minutes.
Martinez hit a long three from the top of the key, followed by trips to the free-throw line by Coffey and Dulin, each shot 1-for-2. Marist led Iona 74-65. Blais was fouled on the next possession and made both to take a 76-65 lead with just over a minute to go. Dulin was up next for Marist to the line, making 1-of-2, followed by a Martinez layup to give Marist a 77-67 lead heading into the final 30 seconds. Ockenden hit the final two free-throws as the Red Foxes defeated Iona, 79-67 to earn a share of its 11th consecutive MAAC regular season title.
Following this matchup, the Red Foxes head to the MAAC Tournament, seeking its 10th MAAC Championship title. Marist opens up play on Friday, Mar. 7 at 7 p.m.