MAAC Tournament: Women’s basketball to battle Marist for MAAC Champion title

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Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

Quinnipiac and Marist will meet one final time this season in order to determine who will be the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion. Quinnipiac came into the MAAC in 2013-14 and this will be the fifth time that it will be in the MAAC championship game. Marist and Quinnipiac have met twice in the MAAC championship game with both teams winning once.

Marist has come the closest to beating Quinnipiac in conference play this season. The Bobcats beat the Red Foxes by six in each matchup in the regular season including a double-overtime win in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. in February. Although these games were close, the Red Foxes know that they could have won both if they did not beat themselves.

“I think both times we beat ourselves,” Marist sophomore guard Rebekah Hand said. “I think if we clean it up a little and play our best game we can do it.”

Quinnipiac came into the MAAC in 2013-14 and ended Marist’s dominance in the conference, the Red Foxes have one goal in mind, and that is to beat Quinnipiac.

“This is what we’ve been working for since day one,” Marist head coach Brian Gorgis said when asked if he looked forward to playing Quinnipiac. “Even more emphasized when we lost the double-overtime game we should’ve won.”

All tournament long Paula Strautmane has been a force for Quinnipiac on the offensive glass, Strautmane helped Quinnipiac overcome a bad shooting start against Monmouth in the quarterfinals. Marist head coach Brian Gorgis knows that his team will need to box out on Monday afternoon if his wants to win the MAAC championship for the first time since 2014.

“There’s a lot of things you have to do, whether we do it and execute it is two different things,” Gorgis said. “One, we’ve got to keep (Quinnipiac) off the offensive boards. We have to play good solid defense and offensively we have to execute.”

Quinnipiac is a good defensive team and it will need another solid defensive effort if it wants to slow down Rebekah Hand and Alana Gilmer who are both in the top five in scoring in the MAAC. In the two matchups, this season Quinnipiac has done a good job of containing Hand and Gilmer but Quinnipiac knows it will need to work together on the defensive end of the floor to slow them down one more time this season.

The Bobcats gave the Rider Broncs multiple defensive looks during their semifinal matchup on Sunday morning, so expect Quinnipiac to do the same against Marist. Quinnipiac is one of the top defensive teams in the MAAC and it is always looking to cause turnovers and get out on the fast break.

Aryn McClure made the All-MAAC first team for the first time in her career earlier this week and she always seems to come up big for Quinnipiac in big games. In last year’s MAAC championship against Rider McClure scored a career-high 28 points so McClure will be ready to go against Maura Fitzpatrick and the Red Foxes on Monday. Fitzpatrick will be tough to score on and the MAAC coaches recognized her defensive ability when they voted her MAAC defensive player of the year.

“I feel like I play better against tougher competition because I have to raise my game,” McClure said.

In Quinnipiac and Marist’s two matchups this season Jen Fay scored a combined 40 points, which is more than any other player on either Marist or Quinnipiac, had combined. Fay will also be looking to have a big game as she did in the MAAC semifinals on Sunday. With so many weapons, it might be too much for Marist to ultimately win but like the past two matchups this season the game will be close.

Quinnipiac and Marist will tip-off at 2:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon on ESPNU and you can follow along on twitter @QBSN. @BryanSchwartz15 and @RyanChichester1 will have the call of the game on mixlr.com/qbsn.