Albany County

Siena women’s basketball opens season Tuesday at Binghamton

Jim Jabir is shown at his introductory press conference as Siena's new women's basketball head coach. (Photo courtesy Siena Athletics)

Jim Jabir is shown at his introductory press conference as Siena's new women's basketball head coach. (Photo courtesy Siena Athletics)

LOUDONVILLE — At one point, Siena women’s basketball head coach Jim Jabir joked earlier this year that he liked his new team so much, he’d be fine if all the Saints did was practice.

Now that it’s time to play?

“I wish we had another month of practice before we played because I feel like we’re really unprepared,” Jabir said during an availability with area reporters Monday, “but I think I feel that way every year.”

Jabir has coached more than 30 seasons during his career, and his second tour at Siena starts with a 5:30 p.m. game Tuesday at Binghamton. Jabir was hired during the offseason to replace Ali Jaques, as Jabir returned to the school he led from 1987-90 after coaching at four other schools in the last three decades. Most recently, Jabir coached at Florida Atlantic.

The last-minute desire for more practice time aside that probably more than a few Division I basketball coaches are feeling, Jabir has expressed optimism during the last several months regarding what should be expected of a Siena program that finished 4-9 last season in a campaign that was abbreviated due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. His team is a mixture of returning players and newcomers, and the Saints demonstrated the fast-paced, free-flowing offensive system that Jabir wants them to utilize during their 18-point exhibition win this past weekend against Division II Dominican. In that game featuring 70-plus possessions, Siena scored 99 points.

From that contest, though, Jabir said he wants to see improvements in all areas. The defense could’ve been tighter, the Saints could have rebounded better and offensive execution was far from perfect. Siena committed 26 turnovers in that matchup, which saw eight different Saints commit multiple turnovers.

Jabir, though, said he was “very pumped” for the Saints’ season to start. Siena will play four road games to start its campaign, and its season-opening game comes against a Binghamton program coming off a 5-11 season. The Saints will start off their season as a work in progress, but Jabir said he thinks he has a group capable of making lots of progress.

“I really think that we’re going to do some good things this year,” Jabir said, “and I think it’s just a matter of figuring out what pieces to tweak.”

Siena’s first regular-season home game is its Nov. 27 matchup vs. Duquesne, a matchup that follows four road games to start the Saints’ campaign.

Siena’s home opener starts a stretch of nearly two months that will see the Saints not leave the state. Starting with its Nov. 27 game against Duquesne, Siena will play seven home games and road contests at UAlbany, Iona, Manhattan, Marist and Syracuse before playing a Jan. 20 game at Rider in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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