The Siena women’s basketball team’s next game is against Rider.
Siena head coach Jim Jabir knows his players know that — but he said Tuesday during a MAAC teleconference that he’s not sure if his Saints know their opponent for the game after that one.
At the very least, Jabir wants that to be the case.
“It’s literally been [about] how do we get better today?” Jabir said of the Saints’ mindset.
For Siena — which, for the record, hosts Fairfield Saturday after playing at Rider — it’s been working. After a 0-10 start, Jabir’s club has won its last three games and heads into its 7 p.m. game with the Broncs at a surprising 3-2 in MAAC play.
Generating offense remains a challenge for the Saints. During their winning streak, they’ve only averaged 59.3 points per game — but they’ve won with their defense, especially on the strength of some fantastic fourth-quarter efforts on that end of the court.
“If we’re going to beat people, that’s how it’s going to have to be,” Jabir said.
During its winning streak, Siena’s allowed an average of nine points in the fourth quarters, and the strong defensive sessions were necessary to pull off the wins, as the Saints only held a lead heading into one of the fourth quarters of their victories.
Rider (3-4, 5-11) defeated Siena 59-43 earlier this season, but has lost three of five games since that Dec. 20 meeting in Loudonville. In that matchup at Siena’s UHY Center, Lenaejha Evans had a game-high 18 points for Rider, which had three players record double-digit scoring in that game. Evans is Rider’s leading scorer on the season at 15.6 points per game.
Siena made 16 of 62 shots in that December contest, while Rider made 22 of 43 — including 7 of 15 from the field.
On the season, Rayshel Brown at 13.3 points per game is Siena’s leading scorer. The team’s second-leading scorer — Amari Anthony at 9.1 points per game — has missed the team’s last three games due to a shoulder injury.
Siena freshman Imani Harris was recently named MAAC Rookie of the Week after the Saints’ 3-0 week.
Harris, a 5-foot-6 guard, averaged 5.3 points, 4.3 assists, two rebounds and 1.7 steals during the Saints’ three-game winning streak.
Harris made 7 of 14 shots in 66 minutes.