CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM It’s the opening game of the NCAA Women’s Tournament subregional at Duke, and the two participating teams came here from very different places.
The No. 7 seed is Iowa State (22-10) from the solid but shrinking Big XII Conference, while No. 10 is Marist (30-2), a frequent champion of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The Cyclones might be favored “on paper,” but a 30-win Marist season with a 26-game winning streak is pretty hard to ignore.
The Red Foxes threaten to make it a major blowout, but Iowa State rallies in the second half for a more respectable 74-64 defeat.
ISU’s last lead is at 16-15, coming on a Hallie Christofferson layup with 8:01 left in the half.
But the Red Foxes respond with a 25-4 run to take control the rest of the way.
Marist leads 40-25 at halftime after the Cyclones score the last five points of the period.
Kate Oliver has 11 at the break to lead Marist, which shoots 50 percent in the opening half to the Cyclones’ 34.6. Iowa State leads the rebound battle 19-13 but commits 11 turnovers to the Red Foxes’ five.
ISU, led by 21 points from Anna Prins in the period, is much better in the second half. The Cyclones cut the deficit to 60-54 with 4:26 remaining in the game before the rally fizzles.
Oliver leads Marist with 16 points, followed by Brandy Gang with 13, Elise Caron and Corielle Yarde with 12 each and Erica Allenspach with 11.
Prins leads ISU with 25 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Kelsey Bolte with 18 points and Chelsea Poppens with 12 rebounds to go with her seven points.
They said it …
Marist coach Brian Giorgis: This was just a tremendous win for Marist College and our program. Iowa State is a very talented basketball team. This was the team I saw in our Vegas tournament (Dec. 18-20), where everybody stepped up and played well. We only had seven turnovers, we had balanced scoring. And we went through our conference relying on one person but today it was a total team effort.”
Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly: Marist is an outstanding team. We had a really hard time defending them, as everyone saw. The better team won the game. They did a lot of great things that we had trouble with. I’m proud of our team’s effort in the second half to come back when we were down by 20 and at least give the TV people something to show.”
Oliver: We mostly knew that we had to keep them off the boards, with their size especially. But we knew they were going to be physical and really get after the rebound, so that was definitely our main focus. We knew that they were either going to be going for a baby hook over us or a turnaround jumper.”
Allenspach: “Everything was going right at that point when we got up by 20, but we knew the game wasn’t over. We needed that run for our confidence and we finally got off to a good start. We talked about we just needed to make shots.”
What does it all mean?
That Marist has a good win under its belt heading into its likely second-round meeting at Duke.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Caron’s 3-pointer that made it 67-56 with 2:55 to go.
Marist leads 1-0.
Marist: Won 27.
ISU: Lost 2.
Marist vs. Duke, Monday, 7 p.m.