Where? Poughkeepsie, NY, along the Hudson River line on Metro-North.
When? Sunday the 7th, in Albany, NY.
How? By beating the third-place Fairfield Stags 66-49 to clinch their fifth straight ticket to the Big Dance.
Upset? Nope. Marist was a bit more challenged in the regular season this year, losing three conference games, but still finished two games ahead of Iona.
Sometimes called the Gonzaga of the women's game (though Gonzaga would claim that they're the Gonzaga of the women's game, I'm sure), Marist is the power team from an ordinarily one-bid conference that no BCS team wants to see opposite them in the bracket. They burst to prominence in 2007 when they beat Ohio State in a 4-13 match-up on their way to the Sweet Sixteen, and have stayed in the national spotlight since.
Do-everything senior forward Rachele Fitz, three-time MAAC Player of the Year, leads the charge for the Red Foxes, averaging 18 points and 8.2 rebounds a game with a remarkable 56% field goal percentage, but she doesn't have to do it alone. Junior guard Erica Allenspach puts in thirteen points a game and does a little of everything from the point. To me, though, the story for Marist this year is the emergence of sophomore guard Corielle Yarde- last season, she was a reserve who did all the little things right; this season, she's a starter who averages 13.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, a smidge under 1.5 steals, and over 2 assists a game, so not only is she doing the little things, she's doing the big things.
Their out-of-conference schedule includes wins over Hartford and Bowling Green, as well as an overtime loss to Oklahoma. The only truly baffling OOC loss is an eighteen-point loss to St. Bonaventure. The worst losses are in conference, to Niagara and Manhattan.