Marian wins Crossroads League Women’s Title

by | Feb 24, 2024 | Basketball, RRSN News | 0 comments

INDIANAPOLIS – In front of a packed house on the final day of the regular season Saturday afternoon, the Marian women’s basketball team put a stamp on their 2024 Crossroads League Regular Season Championship, earning an electrifying 68-65 win over No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan. Marian’s 10th Crossroads League Championship in program history was punctuated by their 18-0 record in league play, capping their second-ever undefeated conference season. Marian will enter the postseason with a 27-1 overall record.

Saturday’s opening quarter started at a breakneck pace, as Marian and Indiana Wesleyan traded baskets throughout the opening stanza. The Knights got the first scoring of the day by Abbey McNally, as she and Ella Collier carried the scoring load early in the in the quarter. After three different ties on the board Marian gained separation as Sara Majorosova and Allison Bosse helped push the lead to seven points, with Marian carrying a 15-8 lead at the 4:28 mark. The Wildcats would claw back from Marian’s lead, using a 7-0 to tie the quarter at 18 all. Indiana Wesleyan would take their first lead with 1:09 to play in the quarter, but the Knights grabbed it back with a Tamia Perryman foul line trip and Ella Collier three. Jade Nutley drained a three-point shot to end the high-paced first quarter, with Marian leading 23-22.

Marian opened the second quarter scoring with a layup by Collier to regain a true one-possession lead, but three-point play by Lilli Frasure would level the score. The pace of the period slowed as early fatigue settled in, as the rivals combined for just 13 points through five minutes of play. Abbey McNally would pull Marian back in the lead with 4:40 to play before the break as she silenced the Wildcats rhythm. The game would continue to flow between the two sides until the final two minutes of the half, as a five-point swing by Frasure gave the visitors a 37-33 advantage. Jordan Reid of Indiana Wesleyan would score at the buzzer as she drove the length of the floor in the closing seconds, capping a 6-1 Wildcat run that saw Marian enter the half down 39-34.

Despite trailing at the half, Marian continued to fight, keeping within two scores of the Wildcats as Collier and Aliyah Evans answered the call. Marian trailed 44-36 just under three minutes into the quarter, but two layups by Evans helped bring her team back within striking distance. A pair of foul shots by the program’s all-time leading scorer ignited a 7-0 run, with Allison Bosse’s corner three cranking the volume of the crowd with Marian in front 47-46. The lead would be short-lived as Indiana Wesleyan pulled ahead with five unanswered of their own to take a 51-47 lead with 2:48 left in the quarter, allowing the visitors to stay in front by the quarter’s end. Perryman and Taylor Folkema traded scores in the final seconds as Marian was able to go back in front, but the score favored Indiana Wesleyan 53-52 after three quarters.

Looking to regain control, the Knights went inside to McNally on their first possession of the final quarter, as the sophomore pushed Marian back in front with one of two scores in the first three minutes. Collier picked up a steal and fastbreak layup to force an IWU timeout as the 6-0 run gave Marian a 58-53 lead. Indiana Wesleyan would respond with back to back scores to cut the difference to one, but a layup by Perryman with 5:56 to play would push the home team back in front by three.

The Knights continued to hold their lead going into the final three minutes of play, as Marian’s contributions at the foul line added points to the board. Despite Marian seeming to have a firm grasp on the lead, the Wildcats made a push with six unanswered points to take a 65-64 lead. The Knights made the lead a short one, as Perryman answered the call with a layup to make it a 66-65 game with 2:18 to play. The defenses by both teams stepped up and kept the score static going into the final possessions of the game. With 7.9 seconds to play Indiana Wesleyan had the ball in their half court after calling a timeout as they looked to go in front, but the inbound pass by Klair Merrell was intercepted by Perryman, who raced coast-to-coast with the game-sealing layup. The Wildcats used their final timeout to set up a three, but the desperation heave by Izzy Reed missed the rim, giving Marian their championship with a 68-65 final score.

Marian’s 25th conescutive win was highlighted by dominant performances by Collier, McNally, and Perryman, who each finished in double-digits. Collier led Marian in scoring with 20 points and five steals, while McNally had a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Perryman logged 32 minutes off the bench, and scored 15 points to match six rebounds and two steals, scoring the game-winning and game-sealing baskets. Aliyah Evans would lead the team in assists with five after scoring four points, and Bosse scored five points as well.

Marian has earned the top seed in the Crossroads League tournament, which begins on February 27 in the PE Center. Marian will host Goshen College, and tip is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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