The Marist College women’s basketball team’s freshman point guard pair combined to produce four points, two assists and five turnovers in their season-opening loss on the road to South Dakota State on Friday.
But it was the frontcourt that drew women’s basketball coach Brian Giorgis’ attention — and a bit of ire — as the Red Foxes prepared to face Creighton on Sunday.
“We need to show a little more heart and toughness up front,” Giorgis said on Saturday. “If we had rebounded better, that would have helped.”
It likely would have made a difference in the 78-68 loss. Marist allowed South Dakota State 25 offensive rebounds, which led to 22 second-chance points for the Jackrabbits.
Marist’s 6-foot-3 center Tori Jarosz scored 19 of her 21 points in the second half, but struggled with early foul trouble and pulled down only four rebounds. Freshman Morgan Bartner, who got the start at power forward, grabbed four boards in 12 minutes but didn’t score.
“We ask a lot of (Jarosz) and sometimes we ask more than what she can give,” Giorgis said of his sixth-year senior. “She did alright. She scored a lot of points in the second half, but didn’t rebound the way she was capable of.”
The Red Foxes led by four points at halftime but were then outscored 28-15 in the third quarter. “We came out lethargic,” Giorgis said. “We came out extremely tentative defensively and it hurt us.”
Point guards Rebecka Garderyd and Claire Oberdorf also struggled, but the coach mostly chalked that up to inexperience. That position was an area of concern entering the season.
Garderyd, a native of Sweden, had two points and no assists. Her backup, Oberdorf, a Marist softball player who joined the basketball team in October, had two points and two assists in her 17-minute debut.
“For the most part they did OK,” Giorgis said. “They’re freshmen going up against a very good mid-major team on their home court. They struggled with a couple things, but I don’t think we helped them much as far as getting open to start the offense.”
Senior Sydney Coffey, a small forward, scored 18 points, including the 1,000th of her career. Shooting guard Allie Clement added 12 points and four assists, and power forward Kendall Baab had eight points and four rebounds off the bench.
Giorgis said he could rotate starters at power forward, depending on the matchup. If the opponent presents a small lineup, he said, athletic 5-foot-11 freshman Maura Fitzpatrick could start at the position. Against taller lineups, Bartner and Baab will likely get more minutes.
The Red Foxes now turn their attention to Creighton, which is coming off a 79-54 win over Wichita State on Friday. Marist will take on the Bluejays at 12:05 p.m. Sunday in Omaha, Nebraska.
“We worked on some things that weren’t getting done, but we can’t change a bunch of things in a day,” Giorgis said. “We couldn’t run a bunch of rebounding drills because we’ve got to prepare for the next game.”
And that, too, will be a challenge. Creighton is led by guard Marissa Janning, the 2014 Big East Player of the Year. Janning shot 1-for-10 from the field in the opener, but dished nine assists. “She’s going to be a handful,” Giorgis said.
Marist’s backcourt will likely have its hands full with guards Lauren Works, Sydney Lamberty and Mc McGrory, each of whom have three-point range.
As well, 6-foot-2 forward Audrey Faber is a threat. The freshman hit four three-pointers against Wichita State.
“We did some good things (against South Dakota State),” Giorgis said. “We knew the non-conference schedule would be tough, but we’re young and trying to gain experience.”
Stephen Haynes: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4
Marist at Creighton
When: Sunday, 12:05 p.m.
Where: Omaha, Nebraska
Radio/On the web: WKIP (1450 AM), www.goredfoxes.com