Half-court shot sends Siena women’s basketball to MAAC win

Basketball player shoots over a defender

Siena’s Elisa Mevius takes a shot against Fairfield’s Andrea Hernangomez during a women’s basketball game at Siena College in Loudonville on Thursday, January 5, 2023.

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LOUDONVILLE — All of its turnovers had finally caught up to the Siena women’s basketball team.

But with one fantastic shot, Elisa Mevius helped the Saints escape Saturday night from their home UHY Center with an 83-81 win against Niagara, anyway.

In a MAAC game that saw Siena lead by as many as 20 points and commit a season-high 34 turnovers, Angel Parker’s basket with 4.2 seconds left in regulation gave Niagara its first lead of the game at 81-80. Under the Saints’ own basket, the inbounds pass went to Mevius, who took three dribbles before tossing up a shot from approximately 50 feet out that sank through the hoop as time expired.

“I thought we lost,” Siena head coach Jim Jabir said during a postgame interview on ESPN3 regarding his thought process as Mevius’ final shot was in the air. “We gave their best player a layup and just the whole way we played in the fourth quarter really upset me. But God bless [Mevius]. She could have quit. She didn’t, and we got a ‘W,’ which is awesome.”

A game after setting a then-career-high with 24 points, Mevius scored a career-high 26 points in Saturday’s win. The freshman guard, though, also committed a game-high nine turnovers. Mevius was one of five Saints to commit at least four turnovers in the game, which saw Siena produce a dozen of its turnovers in the fourth quarter.

“We were fortunate to get the ‘W,’ but there’s so many things we need to learn from this experience and get better,” Jabir said. “I mean, Elisa had 26 points, which is great. but she almost had a double-double with nine turnovers. So we’ve got to get better against pressure. And, hopefully, we can work on that and improve.”

Siena (10-5 MAAC, 16-9 overall) struggled without turnovers throughout Saturday’s contest, but looked ready to cruise to a win against a Niagara (10-4, 11-11) club that committed 25 turnovers of its own. Both teams committed 17 turnovers in the first half, but the Saints took a 47-29 lead into halftime before bringing a 16-point advantage into the fourth quarter.

In the final stanza, Siena weathered one Niagara rally before a final push from the Purple Eagles. Niagara moved within 73-70 of Siena with 2:30 to go, but the Saints pushed their lead to 79-72 off a basket from Angel Jones with 80 seconds to play. But Niagara answered with a 7-0 run and tied the game at 79 with 33.5 seconds left following two made free throws from Parker that came after Siena’s final turnover of the night.

After Parker tied the game at 79, Mevius was fouled driving to the basket and made 1 of 2 foul shots with 9.9 seconds to go. Parker’s go-ahead layup followed, but then Mevius swiftly answered with her shot from the Siena side of the half-court line.

Mevius was one of three Saints to record double-digit scoring. Valencia Fontenelle-Posson scored 18 points in the win and collected a game-high eight rebounds, while Emina Selimovic scored a dozen points.

Angel Parker produced 16 points, six steals, six assists and four rebounds for Niagara, while Aaliyah Parker had a game-high 29 points and four steals. As a team, Niagara recorded 22 steals and scored 40 points off Siena’s 34 turnovers.

Jabir said Saturday’s contest was “a great game for us because everything that we need to improve on, that’s what Niagara does to you.” Siena entered Saturday’s contest averaging 18 turnovers per game, and Niagara’s pressure hurt the Saints — but Siena also found a way, courtesy a memorable Mevius highlight, to pick up a win that left it alone in fourth place in the conference standings. 

“Invaluable,” Jabir said of the experience, “and it’s nice for the kids because they worked really hard, and they’re rewarded with the ‘W’ rather than having a [20]-point lead and losing it. So happy for them, but now we’ve identified there’s so many things that we need to fix.”

Siena next plays Thursday at Iona.

Categories: -Sports-, College Sports, Siena College

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