Siena women hold Rider to a record-low 25

They held a basketball game on Thursday, and a soccer match broke out. Not only were points hard to

They held a basketball game on Thursday, and a soccer match broke out.

Not only were points hard to come by, but Sara Parnell made a kick save in the closing seconds to help preserve a record for lowest score by a team in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament game.

That dubious distinction went to 10th-seeded Rider, which No. 7 Siena defeated, 45-25, in a first-round women’s game at the Times Union Center.

The Broncs’ total broke the mark of 27 set by Loyola in a loss to Marist last season; the teams’ combined total of 70 points was also a tourn­ament record and was fewer than any regular-season game held between conference opponents.

Siena will face No. 2 Iona at 9:30 this morning in the quarterfinals.

The Saints were proud of holding a team to 14.5 percent shooting from the field — Rider made just eight of 55 shots — but weren’t especially thrilled with their own offense.

“Well, it was 18 to 11 [at halftime],” Siena head coach Gina Castelli said with a rueful chuckle. “Yeah, I noticed it, but I also not­iced how many we didn’t have.”

Siena has held its opponent to 50 points or fewer eight times this season.

Rider had one last chance to avoid sole possession of the record, with a three-on-one break in the final half-minute, but Parnell stuck her foot out to block a bounce pass into the paint.

The Broncs turned it over on the inbounds pass, and Siena ran out the clock.

Serena Moore scored 15 points for the Saints, Allie Lindemann scored 13 and guard Merrick Volpe had 11 rebounds.

Rider played without freshman center Caitlin Bopp, its leading rebounder, because of a mild concussion she suffered in practice on Tuesday.

Despite Rider’s non-existent offense, Siena led by just 18-14 in the early minutes of the second half, then used a 16-2 run to take charge.

The Saints scored on runouts in which Cristina Centeno found Moore streaking ahead of the defense, then Moore returned the favor to Centeno for a 31-16 lead.

Moore scored in transition again to make it 33-16.

“We knew we’d be running in this game and if we sprinted our lanes, we’d get easy baskets,” Centeno said.

Centeno spent much of the game guarding Rider senior guard Amanda Sepulveda, who was 9-for-23 from three-point range in two regular-season games.

She was 2-for-12 from the field and 1-for-6 from behind the arc on Thursday.

“Basically, no open looks. I had to stay on her,” Centeno said. “She’s a great player, and we knew all their offense ran through her, so I just tried to not let her shoot too many open looks, and if she did get a shot off, get a hand in her face.”

“Credit to Siena’s defense, we were rushed or off balance, and even when we got easy ones, we weren’t set and we didn’t feel good about our shots,” Rider head coach Lynn Milligan said. “They did a nice job of taking Amanda out of the game a little bit more and making her work for her shots more. Centeno did a terrific job on her.

“They started to pound the ball inside a little more. Moore played a very good second half. They went to her in the first half, and she wasn’t connecting. In the second half, she did a better job finishing on the block, and that hurt us.”

It was the second game in a row against Rider in which Volpe had 11 rebounds.

Moore also had 10 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season.

“I thought Merrick did a good job on the defensive end,” Castelli said. “She was pretty much playing two people. She was sagging off on 34, but also helping in the post.

“Because of that, she was closer to the basket to get boards. She plays with a lot of heart. You guys have seen her play before, she’s all heart, so she was determined to win the game. You can tell nothing was going to stop her on the rebounding.”

The previous tournament record for lowest combined score was 95 points, set in 1998, when Saint Peter’s beat Manhattan, 48-47.

The regular-season record between MAAC opponents had been 77, when Iona beat Marist in 1998, 46-31.

“We struggled on the offensive end at times, but it was a great defensive effort that really carried us,” Castelli said. “I’d like to score more points. That’s really why you have to defend.”

“They held us in check for 40 minutes,” Milligan said.

Siena split two games with Iona this season, beating the Gaels in overtime on Feb. 7, 75-67.

Canisius beat Saint Peter’s in the other first-round game, 65-57, as Ellie Radke had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Canisius (12-18).

The Golden Griffins will play No. 1 Marist at 1:30 today.

RIDER (25)

C. Brown 0-5 1-2 1, Homan 1-5 1-2 3, Sepulveda 2-12 0-0 5, Spotwood 1-11 0-0 2, D. Brown 1-13 1-2 3, Heller 1-1 2-2 4, Lightbourne 0-3 2-2 2, Gregg 0-0 0-0 0, Wisniew­ski 1-4 1-4 3, Kowalczyk 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 8-55 8-14 25.

SIENA (45)

Centeno 3-8 0-1 6, Fullmer 2-7 0-0 4, Moore 6-16 3-6 15, Volpe 1-6 2-2 5, Lindemann 5-11 0-0 13, Wilwohl 0-4 0-0 0, Parnell 0-0 0-0 0, Grenci 1-3 0-0 2, Everson 0-0 0-0 0, Ramsey 0-1 0-0 0, Cockrum 0-2 0-0 0. Toals: 18-58 5-9 45.

Halftime: Siena 18, Rider 11. Three-point goals: Rider 1-9 (Sepulveda 1-6, Spotwood 0-2, Lightbourne 0-1); Siena 4-19 (Centeno 0-1, Fullmer 0-3, Volpe 1-4, Lindemann 3-8, Wilwohl 0-1, Ramsey 0-1, Cockrum 0-1). Rebounds: Rider 46 (D. Brown 10); Siena 44 (Volpe 11, Moore 10). Assists: Rider 3 (D. Brown 2); Siena 8 (Centeno, Volpe 3). Total fouls: Rider 14; Siena 15. Attendance: 3,531.

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