Iona wanted to stop Allie Lindemann.
Serena Moore was on the Gaels’ list, too.
Siena could afford to shoot poorly against Rider on Thursday, but it was a different story on Friday as the Gaels shut down the Saints, 59-43, in the quarterfinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament at the Times Union Center.
The Saints’ top two scorers were effectively taken out of the game, as Lindemann scored just two points, and Moore, who scored 14, was held to three field goals and didn’t have a basket until there was 9:03 left and the game was pretty much out of reach.
Moore cut it to 43-30, which might have been manageable, except the Saints’ offense never got going. Thazina Cook scored 19 points for second-seeded Iona (18-12), which reached the semifinals for the fifth straight year and will play No. 2 Fairfield at 9:30 this morning.
“They knew who we wanted to go to and who we needed to score,” Siena senior point guard Merrick Volpe said. “They kind of took that away.”
“We had to keep her [Moore] away from the glass,” Iona head coach Tony Bozzella said. “And she only had four rebounds. She’s a big part of their team. I hate to say we held her to 14 points, but she only had three baskets.”
Siena finished the season at 11-18, the sixth straight losing season under head coach Gina Castelli.
The game was close in the first half, as Iona made just one of 12 three-point attempts Sarah Fullmer made two free throws with 3:02 left to pull Siena within 21-19, then Cook, an all-MAAC first-teamer, hit a jumper, and Milica Paligoric scored inside to give the Gaels a 25-19 lead heading into the locker room.
Volpe, who made three of six threes and finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, hit a three to bring the Saints within 28-23, but Iona went on a 13-4 run that included a three by point guard Suzi Fregosi and gave Iona a 41-27 lead.
Also during that stretch, Moore was called for a charge drawn by Cook, Moore’s third foul, all of which occurred at the offensive end.
“Obviously, they keyed on Serena and Allie the most,” Castelli said. “Those are two key players for us that need to score.”
Moore finally made a basket on a baseline inbound pass from Lindemann, and Volpe made a free throw to bring the Saints within 43-31 with 8:35 left.
Moore scored on a drive and two free throws to make it 46-35 with 6:57 left, and she made two more from the line to cut it to 48-37 with 4:50 to play.
Iona was never threatened, though.
Catherine Lutz hit a wide-open three from the right corner to put the Gaels ahead, 52-37.
Siena finished with 22 turnovers.
“We wanted good ball pressure, but we wanted to deny the passing lanes, and for the most part we were able to do that,” Bozzella said. “It’s hard when you’re missing a lot of shots. When we made some in the middle of that second half, we were able to get into that.”
Volpe fouled out with 1:24 left.
“I didn’t realize that that was my fifth foul. I thought, ‘This is it,’” she said. “I still wanted to go out and cheer for my teammates and try to finish hard.”
With the graduating Volpe and Lindemann sitting next to her on the stage for post-game interviews, Castelli said Siena, which scored just 45 points in beating Rider in the first round on Thursday, will need to find more offense in 2010-11.
“That was a real focus for us in who we recruited for next season,” she said. “We need people that can get to the hoop a little bit more. Of course, we’re going to miss the two players to my left, because we need three-point shooting, too.”
Centeno 0-6 1-2 1, Fullmer 1-4 2-2 4, Moore 3-11 8-11 14, Volpe 4-10 1-4 12, Lindemann 1-9 0-0 2, Parnell 0-1 0-0 0, Grenci 1-1 0-0 2, Ramsey 0-1 0-0 0, Cockrum 4-6 0-2 8. Totals: 14-49 12-21 43.
Ford 5-16 0-0 11, McLean 4-8 1-3 9, Fregosi 1-7 2-4 5, Cook 6-12 6-6 19, Hubbard 2-7 0-0 5, Bacic 0-1 1-2 1, Paligoric 2-5 0-0 4, Flagg 0-1 1-2 1, Kochanek 0-0 0-0 0, Kopp 0-0 0-0 0, Lutz 1-3 1-2 4. Totals: 21-60 12-19 59.
Halftime: Iona 25, Siena 19. Three-point goals: Siena 3-16 (Centeno 0-2, Fullmer 0-3, Volpe 3-6, Lindemann 0-5); Iona 5-22 (Ford 1-5, Fregosi 1-4, Cook 1-4, Hubbard 1-4, Bacic 0-1, Paligoric 0-1, Lutz 1-3). Rebounds: Siena 35 (Volpe 8); Iona 42 (Cook 11, Ford 10). Assists: Siena 9 (Centeno, Volpe 2); Iona 10 (Fregosi 8). Total fouls: Siena 15; Iona 18. Attendance: NA.
Three-time defending champion and No. 1 seed Marist opened the tournament with a 57-38 win over Canisius.
Neither team shot better than 27 percent in the first half, as the Red Foxes took a 24-21 lead.
Marist improved to 40 percent in the second half to take control.
Corielle Yard had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Red Foxes (24-7), and Brittane Russell led Canisius (12-19) with 17 points.
The Red Foxes will play fifth-seeded Niagara in the semifinals at 11:30 this morning. Marist lost just three games in the conference this season, but one of them was a 69-59 loss in the last meeting with Niagara, on Jan. 31.
The Purple Eagles (13-17) defeated No. 4 Manhattan (15-15), 66-54.
Liz Flooks and Kayla Stroman each scored 17 points for Niagara, which led by just four points at halftime, then shot 55.2 percent from the field in the second half to pull away.
The Purple Eagles made 10 of 20 three-pointers, including six of 10 in the second half.
Fairfield (18-12) reached the semifinals against Iona by beating Loyola, 70-56.
The Lady Stags took control in the first half, 44-22, by making 18 of 31 shots (58.1 percent).
Stephanie Geehan and Tara Flaherty were a combined 11-for-13 from the field for 25 points for Fairfield.
The Lady Stags used a 16-3 run to turn a 14-11 lead into 30-14.
Loyola (14-16) made a run in the second half, cutting it to 49-39 with 12:11 left on a layup by Miriam McKenzie, who finished with 20 points.
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