Sensational Siena Season Draws To A Close In WBI Final

siena women huddle

An amazing run by a resilient group of Siena Saints came to an end on Sunday as they fell to Louisiana 52-50 in the Women’s Basketball Invitational Championship Game in Lafayette. After trailing by 14 points, the Siena Seven rallied all the way back fighting adversity as they have all season. But a last-second potential game-winner bounced off the rim ending their most successful season in over a decade.

“We left it all on the court so we’ve got nothing to be ashamed of,” said Siena coach Ali Jaques. “Tough environment to play in. Our kids showed a lot of resiliency in their ability to come back and even make it a game. Really proud of what we did. We just gave them too much of a head start.”

In a physical, dog-fight of a game, the Ragin Cajuns struck the first blow, literally as Tehresa Coles was hit in the face by a Louisiana player in the opening minute forcing Coles to the bench for treatment for the next four minutes. There was little doubt that the gutsy senior captain would return which she did continuing to fight in the final game of her career.

“You would expect nothing else from Tehresa,” Jaques said. “She got punched in the face to start the game. She came back. She came back fighting. That’s kinda how our team’s been all year. I’m gonna miss her. She played great.”

Louisiana led for nearly the entire first half and in the second they began to pull away as they extended the lead to 14 points, 44-30 with 12:15 to go in the season. It was no surprise that the Saints refused to quit as they went on an 18-3 run capped by a pair of Coles free throws giving them a 48-47 lead with 1:44 remaining.

Robbie Brown answered with a huge three-pointer giving the Cajuns their first field goal in 11 minutes and a 50-48 lead. After a Siena turnover, Louisiana hit one of two free throws and Siena’s Ida Krogh scored on a driving layup pulling the Saints again within one, 51-50 with 13 seconds left. Brown hit one of two free throws setting up a desperation attempt for Siena with 1.3 seconds on the clock. Krogh launched the potential game winner from deep but the ball bounced off the rim ending the championship run.

Coles finished with 13 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals in the final game of a solid career. She was named to the WBI All-Tournament Team. Already the all-time career steals leader, she also set a new mark with 98 steals in a single season. Sophomore Meghan Donohue also scored 13 points and senior Ida Krogh tallied 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in her career finale.

“We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of,” Jaques said. “We got picked 10th. Just really proud of our kids. We came down here. We gave it our best effort. I thought Meghan played really well.”

Keke Veal led Louisiana (23-12) with a game-high 20 points.

And so, a surprising and enjoyable season comes to an end. After being picked to finish 10th in the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll and suffering multiple injuries and obstacles, the Saints battled till the end. Playing with just seven players for the last 30 games, they went on to finish 22-13, a 13-game improvement over last season. It was the first winning season for the program in 11 seasons and the most wins in 12 years.

“We’ll be back next year and we’ll be fun to watch,” Jaques said. “We’ll have a new set of problems we’ve got to solve next year. I think our program has made some pretty legitimate strides this year. I love Siena. I love being at Siena. I can’t wait for us to get into next year and keep building on what we’ve done this year.”

“I’m gonna enjoy my last night with our team,” continued Jaques. “We’re gonna go eat some crawfish. We’re gonna talk about what a great year it’s been. I just really hope that the momentum we built at the end of this season carries over into next year because you can see what a home crowd does. This home crowd that we had to play in was a hostile environment and my goal for next year is to make the ARC the toughest place to play in the MAAC. So, we need all our Saints fans to remember how fun we were to watch down the stretch and help support us next year because we’re gonna need it.”

For more postgame comments, click here: More Postgame Comments From Ali Jaques and Tehresa Coles Following WBI Final

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  1. Pingback: More Postgame Comments From Ali Jaques and Tehresa Coles Following WBI Final | 4GuysinBlazers

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