INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian women’s basketball team outscored Spring Arbor by 23 in the third quarter and it was the catalyst for a 70-38 blowout win in the Crossroads League Tournament quarterfinals Tuesday night on John Grimes Court. Marian is 28-3 with the win and advances to Friday’s semifinals.
A back-and-forth start saw five lead changes in the first five minutes as both teams went about their business in different ways. Marian pounded the ball inside, dominating the glass and getting points around the rim, while Spring Arbor knocked down two early 3-pointers. The Knights started 1-for-6 from downtown, but went to the second quarter with a 12-11 lead thanks to four offensive rebounds and six points in the paint. Both teams struggled at the end of the first with Marian going 1-for-7 from the field to end the quarter and Spring Arbor finishing 1-for-8.
Spring Arbor continued to rely on 3-point shooting and a trey from Anne-Marie Wright tied the game at 14 with 8:54 to play in the second. The three was already SAU’s fourth of the game. Meanwhile, Marian’s offense was sputtering with a layup from Kinnidy Garrard at the 9:26 mark the only points of the second quarter until Katie Giller scored inside with 4:50 to play. Despite the drought, the Knights’ defense kept them in the game and a bucket from Imani Guy put Marian up 20-18 with four minutes to play. Guy’s basket was part of a 13-2 Marian run that eventually put the Knights up by 29-20, which was their largest lead of the game and forced a Cougar timeout.
The Knights led 31-22 at the half and ended up outscoring Spring Arbor 19-11 in the second. Marian shot 39 percent from the field and hit only 2-of-11 3-pointers, but held Spring Arbor to 9-of-27 shooting from the field. The Knights’ defense led the way, forcing eight turnovers and turning it into 13 points. Marian also outscored Spring Arbor 18-6 in the paint.
Marian’s defense hounded Spring Arbor into five turnovers in just four minutes to open the third quarter, and it helped the Knights stretch the lead to 17 with six minutes to play. Giller was particularly active, scoring eight points in the span. Moments later, baskets from Guy and Garrard off assists from Abby Downard sent the lead over 20 for the first time and Spring Arbor called timeout. The good times continued with Downard burying a three and then Macie Lively bringing the crowd to its feet with a slick behind-the-back dribble before kissing a layup off the glass in transition. Lively’s bucket extended the run to 14-0 as Spring Arbor’s scoring drought went over five minutes.
Spring Arbor snapped the run after it got up to 20-0, but Marian scored four times in the final minute of the third and led 58-26 heading to the fourth. Marian closed the quarter on a 22-2 run over the final 7:15 and forced Spring Arbor into 1-for-10 shooting to finish the period. For the quarter, Marian outscored SAU 27-4.
Marian cruised through the fourth quarter, leading by at least 29 for the duration of the period en route to a quarterfinal win. Marian shot 41 percent from the field and hit just 3-of-19 3-pointers, but they made 15-of-16 free throws. Spring Arbor only shot a pair of free throws and missed them both, while shooting 34 percent from the field. Marian forced 22 turnovers and scored 27 points off of them, and won the rebounding battle 44-27. Garrard led Marian with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Downard had 13 points and five assists. Guy posted 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists and Giller added 10 points and five boards.
The Knights now advance to the tournament semifinals. They will host fourth-seeded Indiana Wesleyan Friday night at 7 p.m. on John Grimes Court.