4GuysinBlazers

MAAC Tourney: Iona Beats Siena In Quarterfinals

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Siena’s season came to an end on Saturday as Iona played like the defending MAAC Champions that they are and beat the Saints, 67-47. The Gaels were able to get revenge for a regular season sweep by the Saints as they ran away with the win in the quarterfinals of the MAAC Championships.

“I wanna give Iona a lot of credit for really showing up and playing great,” said Siena coach Ali Jaques. “The first two times we played them it was a different story.”

It was a tight first quarter with the Saints jumping out to a 5-0 lead they would not hold for long in the tight first period. Iona managed to pull ahead late in the quarter with a run and carried a 16-13 lead at the end of one.

In the second period, the Saints’ offense still struggled to get things going and the Gaels were able to get some easy baskets to expand their lead. They scored 9 early second chance points on 6 offensive rebounds and went on another period ending run to carry a 35-22 lead into the break.

Siena shot just 6-26 (24%) from the field overall and just 1-8 (12.5%) from three point range in the half. Iona was 14-30 (46.7%).

The Saints were hampered quite a bit with foul trouble as both Meghan Donohue and Kollyns Scarbrough picked up 2 first-half fouls.

Donohue picked up her third personal foul early in the third quarter as did Scarbrough and the Gaels focused on Siena’s leading scorer Jackie Benitez who struggled to find her opportunities on the offensive end. Benitez who led the MAAC in three-pointers made was unable to get off a single attempt from deep, in the game.

In the fourth quarter, the Iona lead grew to as many as 25 points as Iona standout guard Marina Lizarazu began to take over sending the Gaels into the semifinals.

Siena ends the season with a record of 14-16. They were led by Kollyns Scarbrough who finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Benitez finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds.

The loss brings an end to the career of Donohue, a four-year standout for the Saints. She finished her final game with 9 points and 7 rebounds in 20 minutes of play. She is just the second player in Siena history and the seventh nationally to start every game of her career.

“I didn’t think it was going to be my last game,” said Donohue. “It was pretty emotional. It’s been an honor to play here for four years. I made the best decision of my life four years ago to come here. If I had another year I’d take it but this team will be alright next year.”

Senior Denisha Petty-Evans was held scoreless playing in her final game as a Saint.

The Gaels were led by Lizarazu who finished with 23 points, on 9-19 shooting from the field, along with 8 assists.

“They really fed off of Marina Lizarazu,” said Jaques. “I think she’s clearly the best point guard in the conference. She’s just a tremendous, tremendous player defensively and offensively.”

Karynda Dupree added 14 points 8 rebounds and Alexis Lewis finished with a double-double of  14 points and 14 rebounds.

The Gaels outrebounded the Saints 43-32.

“I would have like it to be a little more of a back-and-forth game like it was the last time we played them,” Jaques said. “Rebounding and foul trouble really put us at a disadvantage.”

Iona moves to 18-12 and will go on to face #1 seed Quinnipiac in the semifinals on Sunday

 Final Stats and Box Score

Ali Jaques on the contributions of senior Meghan Donohue

“Meghan Donohue might possibly be the most unselfish player I’ve ever had the pleasure to coach. Meghan would trade every single point and every single rebound to win one more game. Winning is what matters and winning and competing every single day is what has defined her legacy. She never missed a practice unless I held her out. Every single game she has been at Siena she has started for a reason. Nobody has ever outworked Meghan Donohue. To be able to start my head coaching career with a player who’s that unselfish and that willing to put the program above herself….. when she stepped off the court tonight she apologized for not doing more. You can’t teach that. You can’t teach that in this day in age. She’s the most unselfish, unassuming… and to watch her grow into a confident women now and graduate with a degree with all the academic accolades you’ve earned and with everything you’ve done on the basketball court , you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. You left it all out there and changed the culture and you changed the locker room at Siena and I owe you big time and I love you and everybody’s gonna miss you.”

Highlights

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