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Siena women's basketball advances to MAAC quarterfinals

Siena women's basketball advances to MAAC quarterfinals

Brown scores 20 in comeback win
Siena women's basketball advances to MAAC quarterfinals
Siena won 58-48 Tuesday.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

​ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Siena survived Tuesday’s first half to advance on the strength of its second.

“It was an ugly win,” Siena senior Sabrina Piper said, “but all that matters is that we won.”

That time of the season has arrived, and the Siena women’s basketball team was up to the challenge in its MAAC tournament first-round game against Canisius at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. The Saints secured a 58-48 win to advance to play third-seeded Fairfield at noon Thursday despite trailing by as many as 13 points in Tuesday’s first half. 

“It would have been really easy for our players to pack it in and quit,” Siena head coach Ali Jaques said. “I’m just really proud of them staying together and making game adjustments.”

The main adjustment — switching to a man-to-man defense — was one that worked throughout the second half, as Siena (No. 6, 11-19) held Canisius (No. 11, 5-25) to 16 second-half points after the Saints had finished the first half down 32-22. While Siena made just 9 of 34 shots in the opening 20 minutes, Canisius only connected on 6 of 33 shots after halftime.

Siena swept Canisius during the regular season, and one of those wins came in a game that saw the Saints trail by a dozen points. Tuesday’s win after trailing by 13 points in the first half represented a new season-best for the Saints in terms of overcoming a deficit in a victory.

“All season, we’ve just been preaching [to] keep playing, keep playing to the end,” Siena junior Rayshel Brown said, “and that’s what we did today.”

Siena battled back in the third quarter, and tied the game at 41 late in the period after a pair of free throws from sophomore Amari Anthony. In the final seconds of the quarter, sophomore Margo Peterson’s made 3-pointer gave Siena its first lead since early in the first quarter, and sent the Saints into the final stanza ahead 44-41.

Siena took the lead for good on a fourth-quarter layup from sophomore Lala Watts that put the Saints ahead 47-45. After a Canisius free throw, Siena scored the game’s next 11 points to make sure its season continued. 

In the fourth quarter, Canisius made 2 of 16 shots, and missed a dozen shots in a row at one point.

“Credit our defense for this one,” Jaques said, “and credit our players for believing and playing hard for each other.”

While Anthony had 10 points and six rebounds, and Watts blocked five shots, Brown and Piper teamed to lead the Saints. Brown and Piper guarded Canisius’ top offensive threats once Siena moved to its man-to-man defense, while Brown scored a game-high 20 points and Piper added 16.

Piper and Brown each added nine rebounds and four assists, too, totals which led the Saints in those categories.

For Canisius, senior D’Jhai Patterson-Ricks and redshirt senior AJ Timbers each scored 16 points.

Siena lost twice during the regular season to Fairfield, and Brown said the Saints know they need to start Thursday’s quarterfinal “with better energy” than they had Tuesday. If the Saints do that, Brown said there’s no reason why the Saints can’t keep their season going past Thursday.

“I mean, I like my chances,” Brown said. “I hope they don’t just come in and expect that they’re going to get a win because we’re going to play hard from the start to the end.”

CANISIUS

Sanderlin 3-15 1-2 7, Sweny 0-3 0-4 0, Patterson-Ricks 5-14 3-4 16, Timbers 7-16 0-0 16, Conely 3-11 0-2 6, Sweeney 1-2 0-2 3, McGhie 0-1 0-0 0, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Joseph 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-62 4-14 48.

SIENA

Gerostergiou 0-2 0-0 0, Watts 1-4 0-0 2, Anthony 3-10 2-2 10, Brown 8-18 3-10 20, Piper 6-19 2-2 16, Peterson 2-6 0-0 6, Williamson 0-1 0-0 0, Hauer 2-5 0-0 4, Blasetti 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-65 7-14 58.

Canisius 18 14 9 7 — 48

Siena 8 14 22 14 — 58

Three-point shooting: Canisius 6-21 (Sanderlin 0-4, Sweny 0-2, Patterson-Ricks 3-7, Timbers 2-7, Sweeney 1-1), Siena 7-20 (Anthony 2-4, Brown 1-2, Piper 2-7, Peterson 2-6, Williamson 0-1). Rebounds: Canisius 46 (Timbers 11), Siena 50 (Brown, Piper 9). Assists: Canisius 14 (Patterson-Ricks 6), Siena 14 (Brown, Piper 4). Turnovers: Canisius 14, Siena 13. Total fouls: Canisius 13, Siena 11.​​​

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