Siena Women Beat Fairfield To Advance

lily g box out

With a veteran performance by senior captain Lily Grenci and a heroic effort by junior Kanika Cummings, the 6th seeded Siena Women defeated #3 seed, Fairfield 52-48 to advance to the MAAC Tournament semifinals.

“It was an extremely hard fought win and I’m really proud of our teams ability to finish the job.” said Siena coach Ali Jaques. “My heart is still racing a bit. We’re just happy to win and play another day.”

In the first half Grenci came out on fire as she scored 15 points on 6-10 shooting including 3 rainbow 3-pointers. As a team the Saints shot 50% from the field in the first 20 minutes and led by as many as 11 with just over 7 minutes to go. The Stags would narrow the lead but still trailed Siena, 31-27 at the break.

The Saints extended the lead to seven once again early in the second half but Fairfield was able to counter as Alexys Vasquez hit 3 second half three pointers (5 game).

Kanika Cummings was the answer for Siena scoring 8 of Siena’s last 11 points in the second half including a huge 3-pointer from the corner with 3:00 remaining to extend the lead to 8, 51-43.

“Kanika is a player who’s had every excuse to quit this year because of some physical challenges with her knee that she’s had to overcome this season and shes just refused to do so.” said Jaques. “Her nickname is “Clutch” and she is. She likes big moments.”

Cummings who is facing another possible knee surgery following this season described her will to push through. “You get used to the pain and you want to play so bad that nothing can stop you.”

With a layup by Fairfield’s Brittany Obi-Tabot and a Vasquez three pointer the lead went down to 3 with 1:00 on the clock. Following a Grenci missed FT on the front end of a one-and-one, Fairfield had the ball and called time-out with :17 to go. Siena’s defense clamped down and a play designed for Vasquez was stopped resulting in a Stags turn over to seal the win for the Saints.

Grenci led Siena (13-17) with a game high 17 points along with 9 rebounds. Cummings finished with 12 and Tehresa Coles added 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.

For senior Grenci, she was all smiles knowing that this team she leads moves on to play another day.

“I have a sense of urgency and my team wants to win. We’re really competitive and we’re really tough.” said Grenci. “I hate losing and my team does too so we just tried to get that win and do everything we could.”

“I’m running out of words for Lily.” said Jaques. “She’s playing like a senior that is desperate. She made great shots early and it gave our team a lot of confidence.”

Her team was more than happy to continue Grenci’s special career.

“Lily is just so hard-working we need to give back to her. Cummings said. “So, we do everything we can to keep her in this”.

Fairfield (17-13) was led by Vasquez with 15 points. Obi-Tabot and Katie Cizynski each finished with 14.

Siena moves on to the semi-final round on Saturday when they will meet #2 seed Iona at 9:30 a.m.

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