Monday, January 16, 2017

January 15th, 2017: Marist at Iona

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Iona started well, but Marist finished in the fourth for the 68-62 win. Maura Fitzpatrick's 18 points led four Red Foxes in double figures. Alexis Lewis had 17 points and 14 rebounds to lead Iona.

For weakness, seeing red, harassing cheerleaders, cheap shots, stomping the bleachers, and packing your own lunch, join your intrepid and irrational blogger after the jump.

Basketball never stops. I'm starting to think that should be the new title, or at least subtitle, of this blog, because I say it over and over again. Two games yesterday couldn't sate my addiction. It's rivalry weekend amongst my mid-majors, as the Iona Gaels play host to the Marist Red Foxes.

I'm interested in seeing how this game plays out with the old roles reversed- Iona as the hunted instead of the hunter, Marist the underdog instead of the favorite. We've been down this road too many times with Giorgis before.

Do Marist fans not understand whose bench is whose? Go stand behind your own bench, people. At least we seem to be getting early reinforcements, which is good. Marist fans travel, and they get loud.

Why are you showing our cheerleader your media guide, Marist fan? Leave her alone.

At halftime, Marist is up 35-27, after Iona led the first quarter. We need to get stronger, and we need to play smarter. Inconsistent officiating hasn't helped, as quick foul trouble sent Marina Lizarazu and Karynda DuPree to the bench for much of the first half. Alexis Lewis has eight points and six rebounds, all in the first quarter, to pace the Gaels. Marist has 12 points from Maura Fitzpatrick.

Marist sets screens. So many screens. Screens everywhere. Screens around screens. Screens to screen the fact that someone was screening. More screens than your local multiplex.

I'm pretty sure we've received an alumna visitation. Aaliyah Robinson is pretty unimposing in street clothes, but there's someone with very familiar eyes talking up one of the staffers.

Solid anthem from one of the cheerleaders, who has a deeper voice than I would have expected.

We have a problem. Our bench is not ready for prime time, to put it politely. They're good kids, and I love my dorky kids, but they're very much not ready for the big time.

Once, just once I would like to walk out of a women's basketball game without wondering exactly what kind of idiots the leagues are hiring. Once, just once, I would like to go to a game and think that it was well and fairly officiated. People got hurt today, and I am not okay with this. Now, I will admit, part of my rage is because I'm irrational where Philecia Atkins-Gilmore is concerned, but there's nothing good about not even reviewing when players get elbowed and go down.

I was impressed with Marist's screens. They really did work getting each other open. And I swear that they spent the first quarter jacking threes solely to make sure we defended the perimeter more so that they could drive into the paint.

Jordyn Jossart played briefly at the end of the first half, as a corner three shooter. Morgan Bartner got some time in the first half as well, but if she had any measurable impact, I managed to miss it. Kendall Baab was the primary reserve for the short-handed Red Foxes (who had five or six players in street clothes), and she did most of her work facing the basket, getting rebounds and playing defense.

We're going to get this out of the way early so I can try to focus on the rest of the notes without this tense ball of rage in my chest. As far as I'm concerned, Claire Oberdorf can go kick rocks with no shoes. I'm not going to argue that Philecia didn't foul her, or that Treyanna didn't foul her. But there was no need for her to respond with an elbow to Trey's stomach, and no need for her to do whatever she did that made Phee shriek in pain. You cause that in one of my players, we're going to drop the gloves. I now find myself amused by the lay-ups she was consistently missing short and the free throws that went off back iron. I would like to respect her fearlessness, but I am not in the mood for that.

Maura Fitzpatrick seemed to be setting screens every time I looked at her. Leaving her open was not always a smart move. She knifed through the lane for most of her baskets. Lovísa Henningsdottír provided most of their size and a good chunk of their rebounding. She was efficient at the basket, and also skillful at being in the way of the other team. (There's got to be some better term for the overlapping skill sets of screening and boxing out, but this is my third game in two days, I am tired and I no word good.)

I imagine there will be a lot of Hand puns in Poughkeepsie for the next four years. At least, there would be if I were a Marist fan, because let's face it, your intrepid blogger is a sucker for bad puns. Hannah Hand was more of a hustler, pulling down medium-range rebounds and disrupting plays. Rebekah Hand was more of a shooter, setting up for threes from the top of the arc and other such jumpers. Hannah had more impact on the game, though I can see where Rebekah will be useful. (Also, she is one of my people, even if she spells it funny.)

I don't know what Marina Lizarazu did to end up in the doghouse, but she really needs to apologize for it in a hurry. I don't think Coach Godsey is doing anything super sneaky like using Marina to anchor the bench and provide a spark that way. That being said, something seems missing from her game. Her defensive discipline is lacking, and her passing eye isn't as sharp. She looked for her shot late, but not necessarily often. The three to end the third quarter was vintage clock management, but I'm still worried about her. Kristin Mahoney, after two and a half years, finally seems to be developing a little bit of moxie. I think taking her off the ball and using her more as a corner sniper has helped.

Ashley Martin, oh, dear. Her play today epitomized "not ready for prime time". She looked like someone whose growth spurt occurred in the middle of the night, and she's not sure why she's so tall, or how to run with these legs. She combined the weakness of a slender build with an appalling lack of either speed or assertiveness on offense. She had a perfect fast break- and then pulled it back like she'd seen a ghost, allowing Henningsdottír to obliterate the shot from existence. Impressed, I am not. Tilasha Okey-Williams got rather fond of the three-pointer, which I'm not sure I'm okay with. She got the second half start over Tori Lesko, though I'm not sure if that was rewarding her for her play, or because Coach was just going with the lineup that ended the first half. I'd like to see some more judgment in her shooting- she seemed to be going off half-cocked. Amelia Motz had a nice rebound, but offensively, was a non-factor.

It took until the final semester of her senior year, but Karynda DuPree finally figured out that she's 6'4" and fairly strong. This was one of the best games I've ever seen out of her, and I'd love to see a whole lot more of them. She went to the hoop, she rebounded, she stood her ground down low- I love it! She only gave in to the urge to shoot perimeter jumpers once or twice, which is a big improvement. Alexis Lewis started the game like a house on fire. Marist's defense keyed on her more as the game went on, but she still found space to make spectacular plays on the boards and from the perimeter. She's streaky as all getout, but she's fun to watch. Someday, her classmate Treyanna Clay will be the same way. First, though, someone needs to get Trey into the weight room. She has to get stronger. Too many shots are coming up short; too many rebounds are slipping from her hands. She's getting pushed around, and this is not cool.

Tori Lesko started the game with two turnovers, which didn't exactly endear her to Coach Godsey. I like her hustle, but she's got to get better on offense. Either shoot or don't shoot- don't hesitate and travel. She's regressed from her hot start to the season. Philecia Atkins-Gilmore brought the hustle, as she always does, but her shot was off, and not just after the collision with Oberdorf. Still, Phee is my favorite special kind of crazy. You'll always know she's out there.

Why are we jacking so many threes? Ill-thought-out threes, no less. We have forwards with some length. It seems like it would make more sense to work on cutting to the basket more.

Really good crowd today, and the Marist fans were uncharacteristically quiet until the end. I'm okay with this.

All I ask for from the officials is that they call the game consistently. Don't call hand checks at one end while you let trips go on at the other. That's all I want out of the officials. Is that really so much to ask?

We knew this year wasn't going to be last year. I'm worried about the future, if the freshmen don't develop or get recruited over. Get in the weight room and get stronger, or get out.

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