Saturday, September 21st, 2019

MAAC Conference Tourney: Previewing the semi-finals

Published on March 3, 2012

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All over the country early rounds of conference tournaments are seeing upsets, and the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, if you did not know) is no different. While the top two seeds advanced to Saturday morning’s semi-finals, they will be joined by a number six seed and a five seed. Here’s a look at the two matchups that will tip off starting at 9:30 a.m. ET.

#2 Fairfield versus #6 Siena

Joe Frager’s Fairfield Stags are proving that good basketball in Connecticut is not just being played in Storrs. Led by senior Taryn Johnson, a senior forward who averages 13.1 points per game, poured in nineteen as Fairfield defeated seventh seeded Iona College 61-45 in the quarter finals. All-conference first team, Johnson’s offense is crucial to the success of the Stags, She has led the team in scoring fourteen times this season and rebounding twenty-one times over the season. Johnson is not the only weapon in Fairfield’s arsenal. Junior Katelyn Linney has stepped up her offensive game, and second team All-conference point guard Desiree Pina has been a vital element to their success. Brittany McFarlane was sixth man of the year for the conference.

Siena upset winner over third seeded Manhattan 34-33 in a nail biter, is led by first team All-conference forward Lily Grenci, a junior. Grenci averaged just over fifteen points per game, for the Saints, who bring a record of 12-16 into the semi-final. Ironically, Siena defeated Fairfield last year in the tournament, 36-33 in what had been the lowest scoring game in tournament history. Siena advanced despite not scoring for the final 8:40 seconds of the game. They will have to do much better to advance over the Stags this year.

#1 Marist versus #5 Niagara

Marist, 23-7 on the season and 17-1 in conference, rolled over Saint Peter’s in the quarterfinals, behind a career high twenty points from Casey Dulin. The Red Foxes are so deep, that Dulin isn’t even one of the three players they placed on the All-conference teams. Conference coach of the year Brian Giorgis starts two seniors who have been through the postseason and know how to succeed in conference Player of the year Corielle Yarde and second team All-conference Brandy Gang. In fact, the last time Marist did not win the MAAC conference title was 2005. They may not be as good as last year’s team that almost beat Duke in the NCAA tournament, but the team is still loaded.

Niagara upset Loyola easily, 77-63 in Friday’s final quarterfinal game. Second team All-conference player Kayla Stroman leads Niagara, and she had fourteen points and six assists versus Loyola. Niagara, like Siena, brings a record below .500 into the semi-final, 13-18. On February 19 however, they took Marist to double overtime before falling. In that game, as they will have to do in the semi-final, Niagara thrived on the three point shot, hitting ten of eighteen. It won’t be easy to do that twice to the Red Foxes.

All signs certainly seem to point to a Fairfield-Marist final on Monday, but as Duke and Miami found out on Friday, you never can tell. As they say, that is why the games are played.

Follow @DishNSwish on twitter throughout the MAAC semifinals Saturday morning.


 

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