POUGHKEEPSIE, NY - An early deficit proved to be insurmountable as the Iona College women's basketball team dropped a 69-55 decision to Marist in a battle of the final two unbeaten squads in MAAC play Sunday afternoon at McCann Arena.
Early inability to find the basket, along with seven turnovers, forced the Gaels into a 9-0 hole before freshman forward Cassidee Ranger knocked down a three with 13:33 remaining in the first half.
Just over a minute later, Iona would be within five after a layup by sophomore guard Damika Martinez and Martinez would strike again just under three minutes later, getting the Gaels within four, 15-11, on a three-pointer. Marist responded with a 6-0 run and took a 21-11 lead on a pair of free throws by Kristina Danella.
Iona would continue to battle and get within six on a layup with 3:41 remaining by sophomore guard Aleesha Powell before the Red Foxes outscored the Gaels 7-1 for the duration of the period as Iona trailed 30-18 at halftime.
Iona would not be able to get the game outside of double figures in the second, as a three-pointer by Emma O'Connor and a layup by Casey Dulin helped the Red Foxes open up a 35-18 lead, forcing an Iona timeout with 18:53 left.
A pair of free throws by O'Connor with 14:22 would push the Marist lead to a game high 23, 49-26, with 14:22 remaining. But the Gaels would continue to fight, going on a 15-3 run, with six Gaels contributing points including four from redshirt junior guard Haley D'Angelo, as the Gaels trailed 52-41 with 9:55 remaining.
That would be as close as the Gaels would get, as Marist scored 11 of the game's next 16 points, taking a 63-46 lead on a three-pointer by Kristine Best with 3:38 remaining that helped seal the game for the defending MAAC Champions.
Martinez led the Gaels with 17 points, five rebounds and three steals while Adams scored 12 points and had a team high six boards. O'Connor was one of four Marist players in double figures, scoring a team high 16 points. Dulin was a spark off the bench, scoring 13 points and grabbing a game high seven rebounds.
Iona begins a three game homestand Friday evening, when they host Fairfield at the Hynes Center for a 6:00 pm. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 in the first contest of a doubleheader with the men's squad.