Just the Facts, Ma'am: The Marist Red Foxes allowed the Manhattan Jaspers first blood, then turned on the afterburners to win 75-52. Brandy Gang led Marist with 19 points in her 23 minutes, while Corielle Yarde added 17 and Erica Allenspach added 14. Abby Wentworth of Manhattan led all scorers with 20 points.
For bitter cold, anthems with vibrato, yummy hot cocoa, fancy footwork, sassy pigeons, and drunken alumnae, join your intrepid and freezing blogger after the jump.
We haven't done it as much this season as we normally do, but we do like to travel around the city and see what games there are to see. We had a choice between Wagner hosting Sacred Heart and Manhattan hosting Marist. Well, we've never been to Wagner, and it's been a long time since I've climbed the hills of the Bronx to go visit Draddy Gymnasium, so either way it was going to be an adventure. But the lure of seeing Marist in action again won out, so off we went on the A to the 1 to the end of the line.
Either the last time I went I got bad directions, or they added an elevator since I was there last, but the trip was much less arduous than when I went with my mother a couple of years ago. Up a few flights of stairs and around an elevator, and you're at a building that looks like something out of a suburban high school. It doesn't even look like the high school gym, but the front entrance to the school.
Special thanks must go to the lovely young lady who sold us our tickets and hooked us up with a scorecard and the media game notes. She was charming and helpful and friendly. Plus, the scorecard is really nifty- it's also a mini-team poster with the roster and the season preview printed on the back with the scorecard bit. We may put it on the wall somewhere.
Marist traveled very well. Of course, it helped that Casey Dulin's family made the trip from Connecticut, and the O'Connor shirt on one fan hinted at someone else's family as well. For the most part, they were pretty awesome, except for the one guy over by Manhattan's bench who thought it would be cute to get DE-FENSE chants going when Marist was up 25. I quietly listened to the two guys behind us who talked about the freshmen so I would actually know something about this team beyond Allenspach and Yarde.
There's a lot about the Manhattan experience I like. The announcer sounds like the prototypical small-college announcer, the tickets are affordable, the people are nice, the jerseys have names on them... but they should really turn the heat on. We were freezing, even in multiple layers. Fortunately, one of Manhattan's concessions is really good hot cocoa. Mmmm, hot cocoa. That sounds like a really good idea right now, actually.
We got to see a lot of the back end of Marist's bench in this one; Giorgis made an effort to work his reserves into the game early in the second half instead of just waiting for garbage time and unloading all of them at once. Casey Dulin got a lot of support from her family; a few of them were wearing shirts with her name on the back, which was a good hint as to their loyalties. Emily Stallings had all the chances in the world to get on the scoreboard, but she missed a lot of easy shots. It was kind of depressing. Maria Laterza had the same problem, though she made more of an impact on the defensive end. Kristine Best saw a lot of time as the reserve point guard, and I'm not sure if she's going to fit into the system as nicely as their current guards do- she has some of Caron's mindset, but too much offensive instinct to be the kind of distributor that Marist's system really needs. They got some very good minutes out of Kelsey Beynnon as offense off the bench. Emma O'Connor put in some work on the boards. She was popular with the people behind us.
Brandy Gang came out like... okay, I'm sorry, I'm tired and it's been a long day, my ability to resist bad puns is nonexistent... she came out like gangbusters. She was on fire. She had the inside game going, and then when she got bored with that, she started hitting threes. There was a point where she was almost outscoring Manhattan singlehandedly. She cooled off in the second half, but she also sat for most of it, because the Red Foxes really didn't need her. Élise Caron reminds me a lot of Debbie Black in her defensive tenacity. She gets up in your business like very few players I've ever seen. Her ball-handling and passing are a little sloppy, though, which makes the Black comparison a little less apt. Corielle Yarde took some time to get warmed up, but she turned it up in the second half, including with a nice shot off a deflection by Laterza. Kate Oliver appears to be a nice kid, and a tall kid, but she couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. There were one or two shots that I was fairly certain that I could have hit. She needs to get more assertive; at least she's only a sophomore and has time to do that. Erica Allenspach's rebounding, for a guard, is phenomenal. She was all over the place. I think half her points were on putbacks or on second chances that her offensive rebounding created. I love players like that. Fierce.
Marist's offense is fun to watch. There's a lot of misdirection and a lot of ball movement. Giorgis is also an interesting coach to watch. One of the best moments of the game was his frustrated command, "Stop going baseline!" delivered in the voice of someone who had been chaperoning the fourth-grade field trip just a little bit too long and had shepherded one too many youngsters away from the edge.
Monica Roeder impressed me off the bench. For a big girl- not in height, but in girth- she's got some nice touch. She's only a freshman, so she'll have time to work on being more assertive inside and showing better shot selection. Toni-Ann Lawrence really needs to work on her pass-catching. Her hands were like stone. It was sort of sad. Schyanne Halfkenny has an awesome name, but she really didn't contribute much. Manhattan didn't go very deep into their bench, to put it mildly.
Alyssa Herrington didn't play a lot for a starter- I think she was almost a straight swap with Toni-Ann Lawrence. It didn't really matter, as neither of them was very effective. It was hard to say anything like that during the game, because I think we were sitting near her family, if the reaction of the people behind us to the left when she hit her only shot was any indication. I really like Nadia Peters's tenacity and toughness on the boards, but either they need to get her the ball more, or they need to show why they don't give her the ball more, because it didnt' make sense that they weren't going to her when she showed that she could get position and defend her space. But then, I'm not a coach, so perhaps there's some reason she doesn't get the ball. I don't know. Maggie Blair started the game, but didn't play a lot; maybe Roeder was in trouble, or maybe Olenowski just doesn't believe in starting freshmen, but it seemed like Roeder was playing the minutes that Blair would get if Blair were an ordinary starter. Lindsey Loutsenhizer had a solid game. Nothing terribly remarkable for good or for ill. Abby Wentworth stole the show in the second half, going inside and out with a combination of a pretty jump shot and some slick moves in the lane. She also got herself to the line a fair amount of times. I'm still not thrilled with some of her tendencies on the defense (no, Abigail, it's not likely that Élise Caron will give you a piggyback ride, she's much smaller than you are and she's on the opposing team, so please stop attempting to keep her warm by doing your best imitation of Superman's cape), but at least she didn't act like she thought anyone on Marist had set her puppy on fire.
The referees were very inclined to let a lot of things go. There werne't a lot of calls on just about anything, and the play didn't edge over into overly physical, though there were a couple of fouls that could have been called (Emily Stallings, I am looking at you).l I can't say I'm happy with officials letting players get away with shoddy footwork, (Élise Caron, I am looking at you; when all is said and done, you could have walked halfway to the Canadian border with all those extra steps) but as long as it's called evenly on both sides, that counts as a fairly called game, and that's part of the point of officiating, right?
Really, though, the most amusing bits of the Game Notes- you know, the random things I toss in to keep you all smiling- happened on our way back. Ah, adventures on MTA, New York City Transit, Going Your Way (only during rush hours, service changes may apply at all times, with red lights and random delays thrown in without warning). The station nearest Manhattan College is an elevated station, and inevitably, outdoor stations have some encounters with wildlife. We got on the train, and there was a pigeon standing near the middle door of the car. We shooed it out the door. It promptly looped back through the next door and got back on the train. We shooed it out again, and this time it took the hint. There was just something indescribably New York about its demeanor. Then, of course, on the train in Queens, we encountered a random Manhattan alumna who was in the condition of most recent college graduates on a Saturday night in New York City. Lucky for her that she found us- she was on the wrong train! So that worked out.
See, this is why I love traveling to games. The adventure doesn't stop until you're safely ensconced at home, fingers flying over the keyboard, two different kinds of music conflicting in your ears as you worry about your seating arrangements and the fact that the computer is making you uncomfortably warm.