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Game Preview: Siena Women vs. Quinnipiac In MAAC Semifinal

2014-2015 womens team

The Siena women continue their quest for a championship as the fifth seeded Saints take on No. 1 seed Quinnipiac in the MAAC Tournament Semifinal on Sunday. Tip off for the game to be broadcast on ESPN3 is scheduled for 11 a.m. This is the fifth meeting all-time between the two teams with Quinnipiac having won all four matchups. The Saints will be looking to pull off yet another surprise in their remarkable season against the Bobcats who have won 19 straight games.

“I’ll say this about our team, we got picked 10th,” said Siena coach Ali Jaques. “We’ve got seven players. So we found a way all your long. There’s no reason we can’t find a way to keep it close and see what happens Sunday.”

Siena enters the game with a record of 19-11 following their 71-61 win over No. 4 seed Iona in the MAAC Quarterfinals on Friday. They are currently on a five-game winning streak and have won 7 of their last 9 games. This is their fourth MAAC Semifinals appearance in the last five years and 17th overall. The Saints hope to advance to the MAAC Championship Game for the fifth time in program history and the first since in 12 years.

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 19 wins more than double their win total from all of last season. The 10-win improvement over last season is tied for the sixth best in the country.

Starters:

Tehresa Coles comes into the semifinal averaging 13.6 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 299 career steals is tops in Siena history and ranks third in the nation amongst all active players. Coles was named the MAAC Defensive player of the Year on Monday. She made her 113th start on Friday establishing a new program record.

Ida Krogh is a converted post player who took over the point guard duties just before the season. She ranks tied for 3rd in the MAAC in assists (4.6) and fourth in free-throw percentage (80.7%).  Her 139 assists so far this season is the most by a Siena player in 16 years. Krogh averages 7.5 points per game and has scored in double figures 9 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 50.7%. Donohue is a solid, dependable low-post presence appearing in and starting all 61 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 on Friday was voted unanimously the MAAC Rookie of the Year. She is Siena’s leading scorer averaging 14.0 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 419 points so far is the third highest total for a freshman in Siena history and the most by a freshman in 35 years.

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 7.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

Reserves:

Junior  Symone Kelly averages 5.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 19.9 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 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 22.9 minutes per game. She ranks third in the MAAC in steals with 2.0 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 171, Quinnipiac 26

Quinnipiac enters the game with a record of 29-3 and carries an 19-game winning streak, the sixth longest active winning streak in the nation. The Bobcats advanced to the semifinal with a dominant 82-61 win over No. 9 seed Monmouth on Friday. Quinnipiac received votes in both this week’s AP Top-25 and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Polls, and are ranked sixth in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 Poll. They carry an RPI ranking of 26.

This is the Bobcats second MAAC semifinal appearance in as many seasons in the conference. They advanced to the final  in their inaugural season losing to Marist. Quinnipiac has won all 21 games vs. MAAC opponents this year by an average margin of victory of 21.9 points. They swept the regular season series from the Saints, winning 78-65 at home on Dec. 5 and 87-62 in Loudonville Jan. 30.

Quinnipiac is team with tremendous depth and utilizes a unique platoon system of substitution known as “Gold Rush”, subbing 5 players at a time in and out. Their starting lineup consists of four seniors and one graduate student.

The Bobcats are led by 6-1 senior forward Samantha Guastella a First Team All-MAAC selection who averages 12.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game. She shoots 46.2 percent overall and 42.5 percent from three (19th NCAA Div. I). At 2.9 made three-point field goals per game  she ranks 11th in NCAA Div. I.

Val Driscoll, a 6-4 graduate student center is an All-MAAC Second Team selection. She averaged 13.3 points (7th in MAAC), 8.0 rebounds (3rd in MAAC) and 2.1 blocks (2nd in MAAC) while leading the conference and ranking 7th in the nation in field goal percentage (58.4) during the regular season.

Gillian Abshire, a 5-9 senior point guard is an All-MAAC Third Team selection. She averages 6.2 assists (16th nationally) and holds a 4.04 assist-to-turnover ratio which ranks first in the nation.

Nikoline Ostergaard, an All-MAAC Third Team selection, is a 6-0 senior forward who averages 9.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

Jasmine Martin, a 5-6 senior guard averages 11.1 points per game.

Junior Maria Napolitano (7.0 ppg.) was named the MAAC Sixth Player of the Year on Friday

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