INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian women’s basketball team used a big second quarter to pull away and never looked back, defeating Taylor 93-75 to win the Crossroads League Tournament championship Monday night on John Grimes Court. Marian is 30-3 with the win and has now won 12 games in a row. The championship is Marian’s fourth all-time.
Marian could not have asked for a better start to the game as they scored the first 10 points and gave Taylor fits with their pressure defense. Katie Giller made her presence known early, scoring five points and grabbing three rebounds in the first four minutes. On one particular play, Giller missed a free throw, grabbed the rebound in traffic and laid it in for two. The layup capped the run and forced a Taylor timeout.
The Trojans came out of the timeout and flipped the script, scoring the next 11 points to take their first lead of the game. Two Marian turnovers led to two Taylor 3-pointers during the run and the lead would change hands three more times throughout the quarter. Giller continued to dominate on the offensive end, hitting a three to put Marian back on top and then drilling two more near the end of the quarter. She ended up with 16 points in the period and helped Marian to a 25-21 lead.
Marian used a different method in the second quarter by pounding the ball inside and scoring easy baskets at the rim. While the two teams traded points for much of the quarter, Marian saved its best for last. The Knights finished the half on a 14-2 run and went to the locker room leading 50-32. An Abby Downard three with three minutes to play put Marian up 12 and she capped the quarter with a pair of free throws to give Marian its largest lead of the half. The Knights outscored Taylor 25-11 in the quarter.
Marian’s pressure defense forced 13 Taylor turnovers in the half and the Knights turned them into 17 points. Giller scored 18 points in the half, while Imani Guy and Downard each added eight. The bench chipped in with 20 points and Marian assisted on 13 of 18 field goals.
The Knights didn’t miss a beat after halftime, scoring seven of the first nine points of the half and extending the lead to 23 with 7:46 to play in the third. Each time Taylor made a run, Marian found a bucket to keep the Trojans at an arm’s length. With four minutes to play in the quarter, Taylor came within 13, but Marian scored eight of the final 13 points and took a 16 point lead to the fourth.
A 3-pointer from Macie Lively sent the lead back to 20 early in the fourth, but again Taylor came within 14 midway through the quarter. This time, Rachel Titzer scored eight straight points and squashed any hopes of a comeback as Marian pushed the lead back to 20 with three minutes to play. The Knights would go on to win by 18 and take two of three games in the season series against the Trojans.
Marian outscored Taylor in three of the four quarters and shot 58 percent from the field. The Knights buried 15-of-25 3-pointers and made 18-of-21 free throws. Taylor committed 21 turnovers and Marian won the rebounding battle 28-27. Marian’s bench was a key, outscoring Taylor’s 39-11, and the Knights also held a 15-11 advantage in fast break points.
Giller poured in 21 points and added seven rebounds, while Lively scored 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Downard added 16 points and nine assists, and Guy chipped in 10 points and six rebounds.
The Knights will now await their matchup in the NAIA Tournament, which will be unveiled during the NAIA Selection Show Wednesday at 7 p.m. Fans can watch live here.