The Siena women’s basketball program owns six more wins through its first 10 games than it did a season ago.
That’s one way to say the young Saints are a surprising 6-4.
“I think they’ve matured pretty quickly,” said Siena head coach Jim Jabir, whose team started 0-10 last season. “They’re starting to understand things in a different kind of way.”
There’s momentum for the Saints as they head into league play, too. Siena’s won three consecutive games, and four of its last five, heading into Monday’s 7 p.m. MAAC opener against Mount St. Mary’s at Knott Arena in Emmitsburg, Maryland. A MAAC newcomer this season, Mount St. Mary’s is 4-5 overall and 0-1 in league play.
“We have energy,” Siena freshman Elisa Mevius said last week during a session with area reporters. “We’re excited for the next game. We want to keep the [winning] streak alive.”
Mevius has been one of several young players to excel for the Saints as they try to “change the program,” as classmate Teresa Seppala put it. Mevius has earned three MAAC Rookie of the Week awards and Seppala has earned two, including the last. In all, 85% of Siena’s scoring has come from players in their first or second college season in Jabir’s second season of his second tour with the Saints, who he previously led from 1987-90.
That 6-4 non-conference stretch puts the Saints ahead of schedule, but Jabir said his team isn’t satisfied with how it began its 2022-23 campaign.
“I think we can easily be 8-2 or 9-1,” Jabir said.
A season ago, Siena finished 10-19 as it spent most of the season trying to find an identity. This season, the Saints have heavily relied on a rotation of eight players, all of whom average between 18.2 and 29.4 minutes per game. Each of the team’s usual five starters average at least eight points per game, while sophomore Anajah Brown has been the team’s top player with per-game averages of 11.2 points and 7.7 rebounds.
“I think they’re learning every day, and that speaks to their resilience because I think we’re pretty tough on them,” Jabir said of his players. “And they keep coming back for more, and you can see the improvement.”
Mount St. Mary’s lost 64-46 in its MAAC debut against Manhattan after winning its prior three games. Siena hasn’t played since a Dec. 10 win at Colgate, but expects to be sharp to start league action.
“We just have to give our best effort and execute … like the coaches tell us to do, and just play basketball,” Seppala said.
Contact Michael Kelly at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ByMichaelKelly.
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Categories: College Sports, Siena College, Sports, Sports