INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian women’s basketball team won its seventh-straight game over Indiana Wesleyan and cruised into the Crossroads League Tournament championship with a 77-39 win Friday night on John Grimes Court. Marian is 29-3 with the win and the Knights will appear in the CLT championship for the sixth-straight season.
Marian’s defense has been aggressive throughout the season and the Knights got after the Wildcats early on Friday night. After Katie Giller scored Marian’s first seven points and tied the game at seven apiece with a pair of free throws, the Knights racheted up the defensive pressure on IWU. Mairan dominated the rest of the quarter, closing it out on a 13-0 run and holding IWU scoreless for the final 7:05. Shanyce Makuei fed Rachel Titzer for back-to-back buckets in transition and the Knights ended the first quarter with an 18-7 lead.
The run continued in the second as the Knights scored the first four points before IWU’s Adrianna Trexler snapped the skid with a 3-pointer at the 9:03 mark. The three would be the only field goal for the Wildcats through the first nine minutes of the quarter. Despite IWU’s struggles, Marian experienced an elongated drought of their own, failing to score a field goal for the final 6:40. The Knights still took a 31-17 lead to the locker room and held IWU to 24 percent shooting. Marian forced 12 turnovers in the half and outscored IWU 16-4 in the paint. Imani Guy was the lone player to reach double figures with 13 points.
Back-to-back baskets from Abby Downard early in the third pushed Marian’s lead to 19, which was the largest lead of the game at the time. However, the Wildcats found some life on the offensive end, scoring the next eight points to pull within 11 and force a Marian timeout with 5:48 to play. The timeout worked as Marian stopped the bleeding and embarked on a 9-0 run of its own. Macie Lively capped the run with a 3-pointer to push the lead to 20 with 3:32 to play. Marian ended up outscoring IWU 25-16 in the quarter and Downard put an exclamation point on the quarter with an emphatic block on a last second 3-point attempt.
Marian pushed the lead to 30 midway through the fourth and cruised into the Crossroads League Tournament championship for the sixth-straight season. The Knights shot 43 percent from the field and hit 6-of-20 3-pointers. Marian forced 24 turnovers and committed only six of their own, while winning the rebounding battle 40-32. The Knights also held a 34-12 points in the paint advantage. Individually, Guy led the way with 17 points and five rebounds, while Downard scored 15 points with five rebounds and four assists. Giller added 13 points and five rebounds.
The Knights are on to the Crossroads League Tournament championship on Monday night. They will host second-seeded Taylor at 7 p.m. on John Grimes Court.