Marist, St. Bonaventure meet for round of 16 spot

BRENT KALLESTAD Associated Press Published:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- It'll be a New York showdown in the Sunshine State with St. Bonaventure and Marist meeting in round two of the NCAA women's tournament and a berth in the Sweet 16 awaiting the winner.

The two small schools from opposite ends of the Empire State will be playing for the second time this season when they square off here Tuesday night.

Marist, the No. 13 seed in the Raleigh regional, upset fourth-seeded Georgia 76-70 on Sunday and St. Bonaventure rallied for a 72-65 win over Florida Gulf Coast to advance from the tournament's opening round.

St. Bonaventure (30-3) defeated Marist 67-56 three months ago on its home floor, but teams have made significant changes since.

"They are a much different team," St. Bonaventure coach Jim Crowley said Monday, noting that Casey Dulin was making her first start at point guard for Marist in that game. "She's a tough, tough kid for them. The other players have settled in to how they can play with her."

Marist (26-7) has gone 22-3 since that Dec. 18 loss to the Bonnies and takes an 11-game winning streak into Tuesday's game.

"We've lost to them the past three or four years so we definitely want revenge," Marist guard Leanne Ockenden said Monday. "Losing to them at the beginning of the season I think makes us want this one way more."

The Eagles, the lowest remaining seed in the tournament, took out fourth-seeded Georgia largely on the performances of seniors Corielle Yarde and Brandy Gang, who combined for 39 points.

Marist also could benefit from having been in the tournament for seven straight years while the Bonnies, a No. 5 seed, qualified for the first time.

St. Bonaventure's Chelsea Bowker said it doesn't make any difference who they play.

"No matter whose name is on the jersey, we play like how we play against a top-ranked opponent," Bowker said. "If we have the right mindset, we'll be alright."

The Bonnies' Megan VanTatenhove, who played sparingly in the first game against Marist, scored 18 points and Armelia Horton had 17 points and nine rebounds to spark Sunday's come-from-behind win over Florida Gulf Coast.

"We know what a big force she is," St. Bonaventure coach Brian Giorgis said.

Crowley is a bit pensive about going against his longtime friend.

"Brian has always been terrific to me," Crowley said. "He was always really, really good to me."

And they have similar coaching styles.

"We're playing a team that knows us that we know," Giorgis said Monday. "We both are big motion people. It's just a matter of executing."