FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Marian women's basketball team kicked off the New Year with a strong 80-57 win over Crossroads League foe St. Francis. The Knights were helped to by a 29-point performance from freshman Ella Collier, as they improve to 11-4 overall this season and 5-0 in Crossroads League play.
The Knights came out aggressive as the team tallied the game's first 10 points. St. Francis soon fired back jumping back into contention with an 11-3 run of its own. The remainder of the first quarter was played tightly by the Cougars getting within two points as time was winding down.
As time trickled away in the opening period, Abby Downard dribbled down the court and pulled up from behind the 3-point arch to bank in a basket as the first quarter expired to give Marian the 18-13 advantage.
The second quarter was a different story as the Knights saw an explosion of offense. Marian started the period on an 11-2 run. The dominating quarter did not stop there as the Knights continued to go on another 9-0 spurt giving Marian a comfortable lead.
After the one-sided second quarter, Marian headed to the locker room with a 45-25 lead. The Knights big lead was in-part due to a domineering performance from freshman Ella Collier. Collier dropped 21 points in the opening half while shooting 7-8 from the floor and 4-4 from 3-point range.
The Knights forced 14 turnovers in the opening half on eight steals causing the lack of rhythm for the Cougars' offense.
Coming out of the break, St. Francis tried to find an answer to the explosive quarter from Marian. The Cougars found themselves making runs but the Knights' hot hands found answers for any run from the hosts.
As the third quarter expired, St. Francis was able to cut into the Marian lead thanks to some last minute buckets. Although the Cougars found some momentum, the Knights still enjoyed a comfortable 60-46 lead.
The fourth quarter saw an immediate bucket from the Cougars to cut the lead to 12, but it would be the closest the hosts would come to the lead for the rest of the day. The Knights defense came alive once again forcing stops and turning them into points on the other end of the floor.
Marian finished the afternoon on a 12-1 run and outscored St. Francis 20-11 in the final and decisive quarter. The Knights run sealed their first 2021 Crossroads League victory 80-57.
The freshman Collier finished the game with 29 points, three assists, and four rebounds. Collier shot 9-12 from the floor, 4-6 from beyond the 3-point line, and a perfect 7-7 from the free-throw line. The season-high 29-point day marks the best scoring performance for a freshman in the Katie Gearlds era.
Tamia Perryman dropped 11 points for the Knights while pulling down six rebounds, recording a season high in scoring for the second straight game. Imani Guy added 10 points to the Marian scoring effort while also nabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Macy Willoughby's five points makes her 12th on the Marian all-time scoring list.
Marian's suffocating defense finished the day forcing 20 turnovers on 10 steals. The Knights' offense shot 47 percent from the field and saw points from 10 different players.
The Marian women's basketball squad will be back on the road Wednesday as the Knights head to Goshen to take on the Maple Leafs for another Crossroads League Showdown at 7 p.m.
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