Facing a huge uphill battle after falling far behind, the Siena women fought back and gave Marist all they could deal with, before losing in the end 75-64 at the McCann Arena in Poughkeepsie.
The task seemed monumental as the Saints were faced with a 19 point first half deficit (36-17) with under five minutes to go until halftime against the nine time defending MAAC regular season champs. But make no mistake this team was not going down without a fight.
Aided by a 14-1 run, the Red Foxes had built the wide margin shooting 60% from the field (15-for-25) and 77.8% (7-for-9) from three-point range in the half. But the Saints began a surge of their own hitting 4 straight 3-pointers and trimming the lead to 11 at the break, 46-35.
Siena (7-12, 3-5) continued the momentum out of the locker room and capped off a 30-12 run on a steal and layup by Tehresa Coles to cut the lead to just one point, 48-47 with 14:45 to go. The Saints would keep the game within a few possessions for the next several minutes, but an increased defensive intensity by Marist and an apparent set of broken whistles by the officials prevented them from taking the lead.
Despite the Red Foxes’ physical play particularly in covering Lily Grenci inside, Siena shot just 6 free throws in the second half compared to Marist’s 15. Frustration boiled over for Siena Head Coach Ali Jaques as she received a technical foul with two minutes to go in expressing her disagreement. Despite the loss Jaques spoke passionately about her teams effort.
“I love this team. I love how tough they are. I love how they don’t quit. They took Marist’s best shot and we came back and we were right there again. We’re on the right track.”
Siena was led by Grenci with her sixth double-double of the year with 18 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. Clara Sole Anglada added 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, Kanika Cummings scored 11 including three 3-pointers and Coles had 10 points and 4 steals.
Marist (13-6, 8-0) had five players score in double figures. Kristina Danella led the way with 17 points off the bench. Casey Dulin and Elizabeth Beynnon added 14 apiece. Leanne Ockenden totaled 13 points and Sydney Coffey had 10.
The Saints return to action Thursday when they host Iona at 7 p.m. at the ARC for the annual “Gold Rush” game.