There were stretches on Friday when the Canisius women's basketball team just couldn't score.
And if you're trying to upend the defending conference champion, your offense can't sputter for very long.
Marist played solid defense and weathered a late Canisius rally for a 63-54 win in front of 1,351 Kids' Day fans at the Koessler Center.
"Marist plays defense very different than a lot of teams," Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. "They're all-side help. They switch on a lot of the things we do so it took us a little while to get comfortable with the way they were going to guard us. It's something we've been working on for a couple of weeks now, not being so patterned with the way we run offense. I thought we were getting better at it."
The Golden Griffins (10-6, 2-3 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) seemed to feed off the energy of the elementary school kids in the gym, getting good position inside and jumping out to a 6-2 lead.
But Marist used a 9-0 run to turn a three-point lead (24-21) into 12 with 2:29 left in the first half.
The hopes of a Canisius rally before the break were quashed when Abby Radunske picked up her second foul and then a technical after getting tangled with Meg Dahlman. Radunske was the only Griff in the first half to figure out a way to score, netting 10 of the team's 27 first-half points. She finished with a game-high 15.
"Marist is usually a team that sags their guards in and they weren't doing that at the start, so I could drive," Radunske said. "Our offense was flowing in those points. We're doing a better job of playing hard for the whole game."
In the second half, Marist went up by as many as 17, 53-36, before Canisius went on a 9-0 run to make it a six-point game with 4:31 left to play.
Rachele Fits had 13 points off the bench for Marist (12-4, 5-0 MAAC) while Julianne Viani and Nikki Flores each added 12. As a team, Marist committed just six turnovers -- and two of them were on shot clock violations.
Key to the smooth offense for the Red Foxes was senior point guard Alisa Kresge, who has 41-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio against Canisius in the last six games.
For the Griffs, Megan Lyte had 11 points and 15 rebounds. Amanda Cavo went 0 for 4 from the floor as she continues to battle tendonitis in her shins.
"When your second-leading scorer doesn't have any points it's certainly not a good thing," Zeh said. "There's no question that her injury is hurting her and it's difficult because it's probably not going away until the season is over. . . . We're hoping that we can keep the pain to a minimum so it's not to a point where she can't play."