LOUDONVILLE — The Siena women’s basketball program has again paused in-person team activities after a positive COVID-19 test result among its Tier 1 personnel, the school’s athletic department announced Monday.
As a result, Siena’s games Friday and Saturday against Canisius are postponed, while the team’s Dec. 23 game at UAlbany can’t be played on that date since the Saints’ latest 14-day quarantine period will extend into late December.
Siena head coach Ali Jaques described Monday’s development, which she found out as her team’s practice was coming to a close, as a “crushing blow” for her team.
“They saw my reaction right away, so it wasn’t a secret,” Jaques said. “It was sad.”
The Saints opened their delayed season last Friday and Saturday with back-to-back losses to Fairfield. Missing from those games was junior Amari Anthony, a player that a Siena spokesperson described that night as “under the weather” and missing the games for precautionary reasons.
Siena didn’t announce the identity of the person who tested positive, and Tier 1 personnel includes players, coaches and staff members. Siena athletic director John D’Argenio said Monday that the Saints sat Anthony out from last weekend’s games “out of an abundance of caution” and worked within league guidelines and protocols to make sure they were OK to play.
“There’s nothing that led us to believe that it was going to be unsafe for anybody out on the court,” D’Argenio said.
Siena head coach Ali Jaques said there was “absolutely not” any connection between Anthony’s absence from the Saints’ lineup to Monday’s development that the team needed to halt in-person activities.
“Our medical staff has taken every precaution,” Jaques said. “That [Anthony’s absence] had absolutely nothing to do with [Monday’s] shutdown.”
The program’s positive test result was communicated Monday to Siena, D’Argenio said, and stemmed from a test taken Friday. During the season, members of Siena’s basketball programs are tested three times per week, in accordance with NCAA guidelines.
The Saints already experienced a 14-day pause during their preseason, and that pause removed all of Siena’s non-conference games scheduled prior to MAAC play. With its latest pause, Siena’s next scheduled games it appears able to play will be its Jan. 1-2 games at Monmouth.
“The top priority of Siena College throughout this pandemic has been the health and safety of the entire campus community,” part of the Siena athletic department’s Monday statement reads. “Siena has notified the Albany County Department of Health, and is in adherence with New York State and the College’s COVID-19 protocols. The individual who tested positive has been isolated, and appropriate Tier 1 contacts have been quarantined.”
Jaques said this season has already been “mentally taxing” for her team, which will experience two separate 14-day pauses before it plays a third game.
“We don’t see them as kids, but we’re young and this is a real challenge for them,” Jaques said.
The Siena men’s basketball program ends Tuesday its second pause of in-person activities. That day, the Saints will be able to resume on-court work.
The Saints have not yet played a game this season, and are currently scheduled to play Dec. 22 at Drexel for their opener. Siena already postponed its men’s games Friday and Saturday vs. Canisius, and D’Argenio said it’s a “moving target” for when the MAAC and schools will announce rescheduled games between the two teams.
SAINTS ADD TRANSFER
Siena also announced Monday the addition of Selena Philoxy, a forward who played three seasons at Seton Hall.
Philoxy played for Seton Hall as recently as last season, but then transferred to Stetson. A mid-year transfer to Siena, Philoxy has one remaining year of playing eligibility and is expected to use it during the 2021-22 campaign.
“I am excited to add Selena Philoxy to our program,” Jaques said via a press release issued from the school’s athletic department. “She is a player we recruited very heavily when she was in high school. She is a physical post presence and proven rebounder at the Big East level.”
Philoxy, a 6-foot-0 native of Queens, averaged 2.8 points and 6.9 rebounds in 17 games last season. As a sophomore, Philoxy averaged 5.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.