LOUDONVILLE — Needing to figure out a way to get its offense going, the Siena women’s basketball team plays its home opener Saturday against visiting Duquesne.
The teams meet at 2 p.m. at UHY Center, as the Saints look to record their first win of the season following four consecutive road losses to start the second tenure of Jim Jabir as the program’s head coach. Siena’s matchup with Duquesne starts a string of three consecutive home games and a streak of a dozen games that will see the Saints stay within New York to play.
“I don’t think we realized when we put the schedule together how difficult it would be,” Jabir said Friday of the Saints’ struggles. “So it’ll be really nice to be home.”
Offensively, Jabir acknowledged the Saints have been “horrible” shooting the basketball. Siena has made 26.4% of its shots this season, and that ranks Jabir’s team last in the country in field-goal percentage.
The team has only scored more than 45 points in one of its games, and the Saints are averaging 46.5 points per game, which ranks within the bottom 10 of the country. Only Rayshel Brown is averaging double-digit scoring at 13.5 points per game, while no Siena player that’s taken more than 20 shots has made more than a third of them.
Jabir said the team’s execution needs to be better and that playing one road game after another didn’t do the Saints’ offense any favors. With a new coach leading the program, Siena is still figuring a lot out, too.
“We’re still trying to understand the offense and learn it,” Jabir said.
Despite its offensive woes, Siena has been relatively competitive this season. Its 14-point loss last game against New Hampshire was the Saints’ most-lopsided defeat, and that one came after Siena lost its first three games by a combined 17 points.
Something that should help the Saints is the addition of fifth-year forward Selena Philoxy, who Siena’s athletic department announced Friday had received the necessary NCAA waiver to start playing for the Saints after transferring into the program last season. Philoxy is eligible to play this weekend, and Jabir expects to give Philoxy as many minutes as she can handle.
“She’s our best player,” Jabir said of Philoxy, who started her college career at Seton Hall.
Duquesne of the Atlantic 10 Conference brings a 2-4 mark into its matchup with Siena, a MAAC program. Both teams have played one common opponent, with Siena losing 49-44 at Lafayette, a team that Duquesne defeated 60-47.
Duquesne, which is 0-3 on the road this season, has two players averaging double-digit scoring. Tess Myers is averaging a dozen points per game, while Fatou Pouye has made 53.7% of her shots in averaging 11.7 points.
“We’re going to have our hands full, but I’m looking forward to it because I just hope we can show improvement with being home,” Jabir said.
After playing Duquesne, Siena plays Tuesday against North Dakota.