|ESPN.com: Women's College Basketball||[Print without images]|
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Marist returned 90 percent of the scoring from the team that captured the attention (and in many cases, the rooting interest) of the women's basketball community last March by advancing to the Sweet 16. But the one key player missing from that group when the Red Foxes took the floor against Hartford on Wednesday might have made all the difference.Alisa Kresge was in attendance in Poughkeepsie, but the former Marist star point guard, who now works for the MAAC, could only watch as her former team's offense stagnated against Hartford's man-to-man defense and the first half, and once that was finally solved, against its zone defense in the second half en route to a 49-32 loss. Junior Nikki Flores plays as hard as anyone on coach Brian Giorgis' roster, but even after piling up more than 100 assists last season, she's a natural scorer trying her best to play the role of distributor for the good of the team. Freshman Élise Caron wasn't the answer on Dec. 12, playing just nine minutes against Hartford's well-schooled defense, but the Quebec native might be the answer by the time February and March roll around, allowing Flores to slide back over to the wing. Like Kresge, who finished last season with 190 assists and just 69 turnovers and exited school as the program's all-time leader in assists, Caron seems to have pass-first instincts. She obviously is not yet the leader Kresge was -- few players in recent memory across the college basketball landscape were -- but Flores, Meg Dahlman and others can take of that. It's just the passing they might need to outsource north of the border.
-- ESPN.com's Graham Hays