LOUDONVILLE — Head coach Ali Jaques has regularly praised her team’s maturity and its willingness to make the best of the situation presented to it.
Still, there’s little ideal about the scenario the Siena women’s basketball team finds itself fighting through as it gets set for back-to-back MAAC games at Canisius.
“We’ve definitely lost some ground,” Jaques said ahead of her team’s 1 p.m. game Sunday in Buffalo. “There’s no question about that.”
Siena needed to pause in-person team activities because of a positive COVID-19 test result shortly after it dropped its season-opening series against Fairfield. The Saints resumed workouts earlier this week, but did so in limited fashion in order to try to ensure they could make it to Sunday’s and Monday’s games with enough available players to take on Canisius.
“This is what it is,” Jaques said of the Saints’ current situation during this pandemic-ravaged 2020-21 college basketball season. “We’ve got to make it work.”
While Siena is 0-2 on the season and coming off a period of relative inactivity, Canisius was picked to finish last in the MAAC and has struggled to this point in the season. Canisius is 0-5, and none of its games have been particularly close. A 16-point defeat against Saint Peter’s was Canisius’ only game this season in which it didn’t lose by at least 20 points.
Still, Jaques said the Saints expect Canisius to challenge them as they attempt to secure their first win of the season. Defending Canisius freshman Dani Haskell — averaging a team-best 11.4 points per game, and coming off a high school career during which the western New York product scored 3,227 points — is a top priority.
“And we have to figure out how to score,” Jaques said.
Siena averaged 50 points per game in its losses against Fairfield last month. In those two games, Siena had solid stretches of offensive play, but also registered three quarters with 10 or fewer points.
In particular, Jaques didn’t like how the Saints took more than three times as many 3-pointers than it did free throws.
“We shot way too many 3s against Fairfield,” said Jaques, whose team made 12 of 48 shots from 3-point territory and missed nine of its 15 foul shots.
The MAAC announced Thursday night more changes to its league schedule “due to COVID-19 disruptions,” and this batch of changes involved eight of the league’s 11 programs.
Siena is one of the eight, and had its road games against Quinnipiac shifted to Jan. 9-10 from Feb. 19-20.