4GuysinBlazers

Game Preview: Siena Women vs. Iona In MAAC Quarterfinals

2014-2015 womens team

The season has already been remarkable for the Siena Women. For a team who was picked 10th in the preseason to enter the MAAC Tournament as the No. 5 seed, is a tremendous accomplishment. So many times throughout the season, the Saints could have been satisfied with the success they were having while playing with just seven players. But they weren’t satisfied. So, they kept fighting, an approach they intend to have as they head into the postseason.

Siena takes on Iona on Friday in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 MAAC Tournament. Tip off at the Times Union Center is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. It will be the 61st meeting all-time between the two teams with Siena leading the series 37-23. The Gaels swept the regular season series winning convincingly 79-50 in Loudonville and more recently by a much more narrow margin, 57-50 in New Rochelle.

“I’m excited,” said Siena coach Ali Jaques. “Tournament time, everything goes out the window. We’ve got to take confidence from what we’ve done all year but we also have to understand that it’s 0-0 and we’re playing Iona and they beat us twice. They beat us really good here and down there we only lost by 7 but we lost.”

Siena enters the game with a record of 18-11 overall and 11-9 in the MAAC. They are currently on a four-game winning streak and have won 6 of their last 8 games. This is their 26th MAAC Tournament appearance and they hold an even 24-24 record in those games. The Saints have won each of their last five MAAC Tournament openers with the last three coming as the lower seeded team.

Following multiple season-ending injuries, Siena has been forced to play with just seven players for most of the 2014-2015 season. The result has been a cohesive group that has brought success to a program not seen in some time. The Saints have clinched their first winning season in 11 years and have accumulated the most wins in 12 seasons. Their 18 wins double their win total from all of last season.

“If you would have told me this was gonna  be our record the first day of practice, that we were gonna end the (regular season) 18-11, I probably would have been a little surprised cause I didn’t know what to expect,” said Siena senior Tehresa Coles. “Sitting here now, knowing how much hard work we’ve put in and how far we have come and where we are at as a team, I’m not surprised. I’m honestly just really proud. Because we’ve done what we are capable of doing. And we can do even more. So I’m excited to see where we get to.

Here is a look at the Siena Seven:

Starters:

Tehresa Coles comes into the tournament averaging 13.5 points per game which ranks 6th in the MAAC. She is a Second Team All-MAAC selection. Coles is a solid all-around player who is one of just 6 players in MAAC history to tally 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 steals. Her 298 career steals is tops in Siena history and ranks third in the nation amongst all active players. Making her 113th start on Friday is a new program record.

Ida Krogh is a converted post player who took over the point guard duties just before the season. She ranks 4th in the MAAC in assists (4.7) and free-throw percentage (80.8%).  Her 136 assists so far this season is the most by a Siena player in 16 years. Krogh averages 7.3 points per game and has scored in double figures 8 times this season.

Meghan Donohue is the Saints’ third leading scorer averaging 10.4 points per game. She ranks 2nd in the MAAC in field goal percentage shooting 51.1%. Donohue is a solid, dependable low-post presence appearing in and starting all 60 games in her first two seasons. She scored a career-high 21 points against Iona on Feb 15.

Freshman Margot Hetzke is a Third Team All-MAAC selection, a nine-time MAAC Rookie of the Week, a MAAC All-Rookie Team selection and the favorite for MAAC Rookie of the Year. She is Siena’s leading scorer averaging 13.8 points per game which ranks 5th in the MAAC. Hetzke also leads her team and ranks 4th in the MAAC pulling down 7.3 rebounds per game. Her 399 points so far is the fourth highest total for a freshman in Siena history.

Freshman Kollyns Scarbrough joined Hetzke as a MAAC All-Rookie Team selection. It marked just the third time ever and the first since 1999-2000 that the Saints have placed two players on the MAAC All-Rookie Team. Scarbrough scored in double figures seven times this season and had season highs of 17 points and 6 assists against MAAC leader Quinnipiac. She averages 7.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

Reserves:

Junior  Symone Kelly averages 5.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in 20.0 minutes per game. She has scored in double figures four times this season and scored a career-high 15 points against St Peter’s on Sunday.

Sophomore Emia Willingham averages 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 23.1 minutes per game. She ranks third in the MAAC in steals with 1.9 per contest. She scored a season-high 16 points, pulled down a career-high 9 rebounds and had 4 steals in the Saints’ win at Niagara. She has had 5, four-steal games.

RPI Rankings: Siena 178, Iona 191

Iona enters the game with a record 15-14 overall and 12-8 in the MAAC. Coming into the MAAC Tournament as the No. 4 seed, the Gaels have lost 3 of their last 4 games.

Iona is led by a pair of First Team All-MAAC selections, senior guard Damika Martinez and junior forward Joy Adams. Martinez in the MAAC’s all-time leading scorer and ranks third in the nation in scoring with 24.2 points per game. Adams ranks fourth in the country in rebounds averaging 12.9 boards per game and has recorded 11 double-doubles. Sophomore guard Marina Lizarazu, a transfer from Texas tech, ranks 12th nationally with 6.4 assists per game.

“We’re 0-2 against them so we gotta have something to prove against the best player in the league and one of the best post players in the league who averages a double-double. So we got our work cut out for us,” said Jaques.

“Wear some green and gold come out and support our team,” pled Jaques. “We need all the help we can get. The more green and gold in the stands the more energy these guys will have to feel off of and hopefully get a win and keep playing.”

 

 

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