Game Preview: Siena Women vs. Canisus

2014-2015 womens team

The Siena women wrap up their regular season with the first of two home games as they take on Canisius Friday night. Tip off at the Alumni Recreation Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. This is the 69th meeting between the two teams with Siena leading the series,  44-24. The two teams have split the last 14 meetings and the Saints have won the last 4 out of 5 at the ARC.

The Saints are 5-7 at home so far this season and would like nothing more than to finish out the regular season with a pair of wins in Loudonville.

“We’ve had our challenges this year in defending our home court,” said Siena head coach Ali Jaques. “I just would love to see our team put it together with the same kind of focus we’ve had on the road to be able to defend this court and get into that 5th seed outright and claim it for ourselves.”

In their matchup on Jan. 11th, Siena came back from a 20-point second half deficit to pull out a 71-70 win in Buffalo. The Saints finished the game with a 22-8 run capped by an Emia Willingham follow up basket for the game-winner with 6 seconds left. Tehresa Coles led Siena with 24 points and Emily Weber led Canisius with 22.

“We’ve talked a lot in the last week or so about we haven’t played our best game yet,” said Jaques. “I think the best half we played this year was the 2nd half at Canisius. Our guys were exhausted. They were tired. The pace was too fast in the first half and we came back from being down 20. We only had 2 turnovers in that second half and were able to win at the buzzer.”

The Saints enter the game with a record of 16-11 overall and 9-9 in the MAAC where they currently sit alone in 5th place. They are winners of 4 of their last 6 games after a 54-47 win at Fairfield on Saturday. Should the Saints win their final two regular season games they would secure the 5 seed and be assured of a first round bye in the upcoming MAAC Tournament. With a win over Canisius and a Niagara loss to Iona on Saturday, Siena would also lock up the 5 seed. With a Friday win, they can finish no less than 6th.

“We want that fifth seed and the girls know what we have to do to get it,” said Siena assistant coach Stephanie McCormick. “It’s nice that we’re home because we can finish up something, a very special season, in front of our home fans who are great.”

Freshman Margot Hetzke, a 9 time MAAC Rookie of the Week, leads the Saints in scoring (14.0 ppg, 5th in MAAC) and rebounding (7.4 rpg., 4th in MAAC). Her 377 points is the 5th most ever scored by a Siena freshman.

Coles is second on the team in scoring averaging 13.4 points per game (6th in MAAC). Her 3.0 steals per game ranks tops in the conference and 17th nationally. She now holds the Siena record for career steals with 287. Coles is just 3 assists away from becoming the 6th player in MAAC history to tally 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 steals. Gunta Basko is the only other Siena player to do so.

Sophomore Meghan Donohue is also averaging in double figures for the Saints putting up 10.3 points per game. She is second on the team in rebounding with 5.1 boards per game. Donohue ranks 3rd in the MAAC in field goal percentage shooting 51.7% from the field.

Senior Ida Krogh has done a fantastic job taking over the point guard position this season after previously serving as a post player. She ranks 3rd in the MAAC in assists dishing out 4.7 per game. Her 127 assists so far this season is the most by a Siena player in a single season in 12 years when Gunta Basko tallied 131 in 2002-2003. Krogh also ranks 3rd in the MAAC in free throw percentage (82.2%).

RPI Rankings: Siena 173, Canisius 253

Canisius enters the game with a record of 10-18 overall and 8-11 in the MAAC putting them in a three-way tie for 7th place with Monmouth and Rider. The Golden Griffins have won their last two games after losing 6 straight.

The Griffs are led by 5-7 senior guard Kayla Hoohuli who comes in averaging 13.1 points per game. She is coming off a career-high 27-point performance on Tuesday. Tihana Mills, a 5-5 junior guard, averages 10.7 points, Crystal Porter, a 5-10 junior forward averages 9.9 and 5-9 junior guard Emily Weber from nearby Shenendehowa High School adds 9.1 points.

“Canisius in dangerous,” said Jaques. “They shoot the ball very well. They’ve got some mismatches in their favor. We’ve got some mismatches in ours. If it becomes a physical, pound the ball in the paint kind of a game and if we play at the right pace, I think it will be in our favor.”

The Saints are looking forward to see how they are able to finish out what is already a special season.

“It’s time for us time for us to really step on the gas and shift gears and just see what we really have left and what we have to accomplish,” said Jaques.

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