ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Nikki Flores had 13 points and No. 24 Marist overcame an off game from Rachele Fitz to beat Canisius 54-44 in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament on Friday.
Fitz, the conference player of the year, came in averaging 19 points but was held to just 10 before fouling out with 52 seconds left. Sarah Smrdel added eight points, including two 3-pointers, and five rebounds off the bench.Laura Buetow had 13 points and 15 rebounds to lead Canisius (13-18).Marist (29-2) has won its last 19 games, with the last seven by 10 points or more. It will face Manhattan in the semifinals on Saturday.Canisius opened the scoring when Buetow hit a field goal 2:28 into the game. Marist answered with a basket from Fitz, marking the first of seven ties in the first half.With Canisius up 21-18 with 4:05 to go in the half, Marist went on a 6-0 run to take a 24-21 lead. Canisius came right back with Brittane Russell scoring the last five points of the half to give the Golden Griffins a 26-24 lead at halftime.Marist took over early in the second half, holding Canisius without a field goal for 9:04 to take a 38-30 lead with 10:04 left. The Red Foxes made 11 of their last 15 free throws to put the game away.Marist shot 39.6 percent from the field despite making just 3-of-20 3-pointers. The Red Foxes held the Golden Griffins to 28.3 percent from the field and outrebounded them 39-37.