NIAGARA UNIVERSITY — As the Niagara women’s basketball team pumped up its lead late in the game, it was no coincidence that Siena was pumping up its turnover total at the same time.
The Saints trailed by just two points with a little over three minutes left in what had been a tight game all the way, but the Purple Eagles outscored them 15-4 down the stretch for an 82-69 victory at the Gallagher Center on Thursday night.
Siena, which came into the game in second place in the MAAC while riding a five-game winning streak, fell to 5-3 in the conference and 5-11 overall with just its second loss in the month of January.
Eighth-place Niagara improved to 4-5 and 7-10.
The score was tied at 33 at halftime and 58-56 in favor of Niagara after three quarters, and the final score actually represented the largest margin at any point.
The turning point came with 3:10 left and Niagara up by 67-65, as freshman Aaliyah Parker scored on a drive and made the free throw after being fouled by Margo Peterson.
Besides Parker’s points, the play damaged Siena’s chances because it represented the fifth foul on Peterson, who scored 21 points on 3-for-5 from 3-point range and 8-for-8 from the free throw line, but had to watch the rest of the game on the bench.
Still in it while trailing 72-65 with just under three minutes to play, Siena committed three straight turnovers, and Niagara cashed in on the first two to push it to 77-65 with 1:41 left.
The Saints finished with 32 turnovers and committed 25 fouls, while the Purple Eagles had 20 of each.
Besides Peterson, Rayshel Brown also scored 21 points for Siena. No one else had more than eight for the Saints.
Junior Angel Parker led the Purple Eagles with 23 points, and her sister Aaliyah finished with 20.