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Siena Women Beat Canisius For Fifth Straight Win
- Updated: January 26, 2017
The Siena Women continued their run of spirited play as they rolled over Canisius, 67-42 Thursday night at the Alumni Recreation Center. A smothering Siena defense forced Canisius into a season-high 29 turnovers as the Saints grabbed their fifth straight win.
“These guys are really, really fun to coach right now,” said Siena coach Ali Jaques. “We’re getting maximum effort from every player that steps on the court. It’s a really unselfish group. It’s a really driven group. It’s fun to see them have a lot of success and come into their own.”
Canisius scored the game’s first four points before Siena answered with an 8-0 run. The Griffs outshot the Saints 50% to 38.9% from the field in the period but Siena took advantage on the glass scoring 8 second chance points on 6 offensive rebounds. At the end of the first quarter it was Siena 15, Canisius 14 with Meghan Donohue leading the way with 8 points.
In the second quarter, with their outside shots not falling, the Saints began to find themselves some easy baskets effectively driving and getting the ball inside. They hit 8-15 (53.9%) from the field in the period and opened up their lead to as many as 12.
The Saints also tightened up on the defensive end as the second quarter progressed. Canisius who came into the game averaging 15.8 turnovers per game had 17 in the first half alone. Siena took advantage scoring 17 of their first half points off of the Griffs’ miscues. The Saints outscored their opponent 24-12 in the paint and as a result led at the half, 33-22.
Siena essentially put the game away in the third quarter as they came out on fire by starting the period on an 18-2 run. That made it 51-24 with 5:42 left in the third. They led by twenty or more points for most of the remaining time as they continued to click on all cylinders and never let up.
Four players finished in double figures for Siena (8-12, 7-4) led by Jackie Benitez with 15 points. Freshman Sabrina Piper had a career-high 13 points.
“She’s doing a great job,” said Jaques on Piper. “What goes unnoticed is when we are in man-to-man, she’s guarding the other team’s best player. She’s proving she can do that as a freshman which is pretty impressive. Offensively it was just a matter of time with her.”
Kollyns Scarbrough scored 12 points and Meghan Donohue also added 12 along with 8 rebounds.
“There are so many players that can score that sometimes I think teams forget about those players and it just happens that they have a monster night,” said Scarbrough. ”Seva(rova, 8 points) played great. Sabrina had a big game today. When you have a team that can consistently have four people in double figures, it’s hard to guard.”
Defense led to offense as the Saints scored 29 points off of the Griffs 29 turnovers. Fifteen of the miscues came from Siena steals led by Benitez who had 4. Nine of Siena’s 11 players had at least one steal.
“A couple weeks ago we made a switch of moving Benitez to the up-guard spot,” explained Jaques. ”Jackie’s extremely long and creates havoc up there and gets a lot of deflections and makes other point guards really insecure. That allows players like Kollyns to be able to run through passing lanes behind her and get some pretty nice steals.”
Further explaining the Saints’ defensive success as of late Jaques said, “We haven’t run Blizz(ard) for two years. We haven’t had the personnel to do it. It’s taken some time to recruit that personnel. It’s a tiring defense to play because it’s really active. But, we’re deep right now and they understand it now and they’re bought into it as well. We’re just staying humble and getting better defensively every time out.”
Siena outscored Canisius 40-20 in the paint and outrebounded them 34-24. The Saints scored 16 second chance points on 15 offensive rebounds.
Maria Welch was the lone Canisius player in double figures with 13 points. The 42 points allowed was a season low for Siena. The Griffins fall to 6-14 overall and 5-6 in the MAAC.
“More than anything else this team is committed right now and they’re bought in and it’s a really fun locker room to be a part of,” said Jaques.
The Saints will return to action on Saturday as they head on the road to take on Monmouth. Tip off is at 2 p.m.