FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Siena women’s basketball keeps finding ways to win, but Thursday night’s performance was the Saints’ most improbable one yet.
With injury and illness plaguing the team, only six Siena players suited up for the game at defending MAAC champion Fairfield. When Teresa Seppala fouled out 17 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Saints were down to just five players, and still they toughed it out, rallying from as many as 13 points down, taking the game to overtime and winning 55-51 to complete a season sweep of the Stags.
Anajah Brown, who played the final 18:27 of regulation and all of overtime after picking up her fourth foul, scored the go-ahead basket with 6.9 seconds left after an Elisa Mevius block on Fairfield’s Lauren Beach kickstarted a transition opportunity that ended with Mevius dishing to Brown for a layup.
Freshman Savannah Wilson, forced into the most action of her career due to Siena’s shorthanded roster, blocked Callie Cavanaugh’s shot in the final seconds, with Mevius hitting a pair of free throws to seal the win.
Three regulars — Capital Region products Ahniysha Jackson and Valencia Fontenelle-Posson, along with freshman guard Angel Jones — were among those unavailable for the game. According to a Siena spokesman, the absences were not due to disciplinary reasons.
Mevius led Siena with 14 points, Emina Selimovic and Brown each scored 12 and combined to grab 19 rebounds, and both Seppala and London Gamble scored seven points. Gamble hit a pull-up jumper with 9 seconds left in regulation that sent the game to overtime at 46-46.
Brown, Selimovic, Gamble and Mevius all played at least 40 minutes as Siena (6-2 MAAC, 12-6 overall) improved to 5-1 since Terry Primm took over as acting head coach after head coach Jim Jabir stepped away from the program while Siena conducts an investigation into allegations that Jabir made racially insensitive and misogynistic comments to players.
Cavanaugh finished with a game-high 23 points for Fairfield (5-3, 9-8).
Siena is back at home Saturday at 2 p.m. when first-place Iona visits UHY Center.