26-2, 17-0 Conf
12-15, 10-7 Conf

Marist routs Siena, clinches eighth straight MAAC title

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. -- Erica Allenspach scored 20 points and No. 21 Marist wrapped up its seventh straight outright regular-season conference title with a 64-48 rout of Siena on Friday night, which extended the nation's longest winning streak to 22 games.

Allenspach matched a career high with six 3-pointers, and Corielle Yarde added 11 points and six assists for the Red Foxes, who also equaled the school record for consecutive wins. Marist (26-2, 17-0) has won or shared the last eight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference titles.

Serena Moore and Maja Gerlyng scored 10 points each to lead Siena (12-15, 10-7), the last team to share the regular-season title with Marist in 2004.

"It's nice to have it outright," Allenspach said. "We don't like to tie as much as we don't like to lose. Our only goal is to win the rest of them out and take care of business ourselves."

The Red Foxes shot 42.3 percent from the floor, including 51.9 percent in the first half. They also went a perfect 12-for-12 from the foul line. Meanwhile, Marist limited the Saints to 25 percent shooting, 20 percent in the second half.

"I thought early we executed about as well as we can," Marist coach Brian Giorgis said. "We've got to do a little bit better job if we face them in the semis -- if we get there and if they're in there -- do a better job against the press, or at least attacking it."

Marist built a 37-19 lead with a 15-3 run late in the first half, holding the Saints scoreless for six minutes at one point. Cathy Cockrum made a 3-pointer from the right side to bring Siena to within 31-19 and break the Saints' scoreless stretch, but Allenspach responded with a 3-pointer of her own 25 seconds later.

Allenspach went 6-of-8 from 3-point range.

"That's all I can make," Allenspach said. "That's what they were giving me. Each one of them were wide open looks."

The Red Foxes were just as hot in the second half.

Kate Oliver made a foul-line jumper, Allenspach banged in a 3-pointer, and Oliver blocked a shot that Yarde recovered and took the rest of the way for a layup at the other end. That gave Marist a 46-24 advantage and forced Siena to call timeout only 1:26 into the second half.

"They play very good defense, not to take anything away from that," Siena coach Gina Castelli said. "I also think that when you're down, your mentality has to be a more aggressive style. You can't be hanging back."

Marist stretched the lead to 49-26 moments later when Allenspach hit another 3. Siena twice crept to within 13 points twice in the second half, but could get no closer.

The Red Foxes entered the game leading the nation in scoring defense at 49.6 points per game and committed the fewest turnovers per game (10.9). They have not lost a road game in 12 tries this season, though they did lose to St. John's on a neutral court.

Their only other loss came Dec. 4 against St. Bonaventure.

"To be able to accomplish this goal of going undefeated on the road and undefeated so far in the conference is a great accomplishment," Yarde said.

Marist has won 16 of its 17 MAAC games by double-digit figures. The Red Foxes' lone MAAC win by less than 10 points came earlier this month with a 54-52 win at Fairfield. The teams meet again in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Sunday.

"They want to go 18-0 in the conference," Giorgis said. "I told them my goal, and especially why this game is so important, Marist has never had a team that's gone undefeated on the road. To be able to do that, in a whole season, including non-conference, is pretty special."