Siena dominated the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s perennial powerhouse for much of the first half, but when the Marist Red Foxes heated up from long range, the Saints had no answer.
The Red Foxes (3-0, 7-5), who own a 31-29 advantage in the all-time series, have won the last 23 meetings with the Saints, who haven’t beaten Marist since Dec. 3, 2004.
Marist, which has won nine straight MAAC championships and 10 of the last 11, continued its mastery over Siena by using a late 10-point run to surge past the Saints, 56-46, in a key women’s matchup Friday night at the Alumni Recreation Center.
Siena (0-3, 7-5), which led by as many as 14 (20-6) in the first half, pulled ahead, 35-26, a little more than four minutes into the second half. The Saints’ strong interior defense stymied the Red Foxes, and Siena held a huge advantage on the boards, as well, limiting Marist to just two offensive rebounds the entire game.
Although Marist kept hanging around, the Saints still held a 41-35 edge when freshman Margot Hetzke sank a pair of free throws with 10:09 to go.
Madeline Blais drained a three-pointer to cut the Marist deficit to three (41-38) before Hetzke countered with a scooping drive through the lane.
But that’s when Marist took control of the game, as the Red Foxes stunned the Saints with a 10-0 run that included two treys by Blais sandwiched between a floating drive by Allie Clement and two free throws by Sydney Coffey, the player of the game, who finished with 23 points.
That spree put Marist in front, 48-43, and Siena never recovered.
After Kollyns Scarbrough converted a driving layup to make the score 50-45, the Saints forced a quick turnover and had a chance to slice further into their deficit before Ida Krogh was whistled for a traveling violation.
Marist clinched the game with three-pointers by Coffey and Payton Birchmeier. The Red Foxes made 11 of 30 shots from beyond the arc.
“Marist is perennially the best team in our league, and we went toe to toe with them,” said Siena head coach Ali Jaques. “Offensively, we had four empty possessions which really hurt us at the end.”
Siena shot only 30 percent from the floor, but Jaques was more concerned with her team’s lack of free throws (6-for-12).
“I wish we had done a little better getting to the free-throw line. That’s something we’ve done well at all year,” she said. “But we got a great game from Tehresa Coles, considering she was coming back from an injury, and I think we’re still a very dangerous team in this league.”
The Saints appeared to lose a little energy at the end of the game, and it’s understandable why, since they suited up only seven players.
“Marist did a great job shooting the threes, but that’s what they do. They live and die with the three-pointer,” Jaques said. “We had to pick our poison. To me, the three-pointer was the great equalizer for them.”
Despite the loss, the Saints felt they played well.
“We needed to communicate better defensively to stop their three-pointers,” said Hetzke who led Siena with 14 points. “We should have focused better on finishing our shots at the end.”
“This was a frustrating loss, but it shows we can play with the best team in the league,” said Krogh. “We can build confidence based on how we played this game.”
Meghan Donoghue added nine points and 12 rebounds, while Coles, a Colonie High School product who missed the last game with an ankle injury, contributed five points, four rebounds and two assists.
Fellow Colonie graduate Sydnie Rosales has yet to play all season for the Red Foxes because of a leg injury. She is not expected back until February.
Blais 3-13 0-0 9, Jarosz 4-7 1-2 9, Gomez-Martinez 0-2 0-0 0, Clement 4-11 0-0 9, Coffey 7-10 4-4 23, Van Horn 0-1 0-0 0, Baab 0-0 0-0 0, Lai 1-4 0-0 3, Birchmeier 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 20-50 5-6 56.
Hetzke 5-12 3-4 14, Donohue 4-10 1-2 9, Krogh 3-11 1-2 8, Scarbrough 2-12 0-0 5, Coles 2-6 1-2 5, Willingham 2-5 0-2 5, Kelly 0-4 0-0 0. Totals: 18-60 6-12 46.
Halftime: Siena, 26-24. Three-point goals: Marist 11-30 (Blais 3-10, Gomez-Martinez 0-2, Clement 1-5, Van Horn 0-1, Coffey 5-8, Brittni 1-2, Birchmeier 1-2); Siena 4-21 (Hetzke 1-5, Krogh 1-5, Scarbrough 1-7, Coles 0-1, Willingham 1-3). Rebounds: Marist 32 (Jarosz 8, Coffey 8), Siena 40 (Donohue 12. Assists: Marist 14 (Gomez-Martinez 5), Siena 9 (Krogh 3). Total fouls: Marist 16, Siena 9. Officials: John Palermo, Elizabeth Kuzmeski, Dirk Link. Attendance: 801.
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