Siena Women Defend Home Court To Beat Canisius

hetzke marist

Freshman Margot Hetzke came up with a huge second half, scoring all of her game-high 20 points and Siena locked down defensively to beat Canisius, 58-54 Friday night at the Alumni Recreation Center. With their 17th win of the season, the Saints have equaled the most wins for the program in a season in 12 years.

“It’s a dog fight with Canisius every time, literally,” said Siena coach Ali Jaques. “They’re gritty. They’re undersized. They use their speed very well. I’m really, really proud of our toughness and ability to stay with the plan. Canisius has a very good defensive team. They make a lot of adjustments. They make you think. They try to keep you on your toes.”

The Saints got off to a rough start and the Golden Griffins opened up an early, 11-1 lead. Siena missed their first 13 shots from the field and were held without a field goal until the 11:37 mark of the first half. Despite being outshot 44% (11-25) to 23.1% (6-26) in the first 20 minutes, the Saints took advantage of an 11-0 run and managed to pull within one, 24-23 heading into the break.

In the second half the lead changed a couple of times and after trailing by three, Siena went on another 11-0 run to build a 39-31 lead with 12:37 to go. Canisius would not give in as they managed to tie the game on four occasions, the final time coming with 1:46 remaining, 53-53. Hetzke would ice the win with a lay in and 3 free throws down the stretch.

The Saints shot much better in the second half converting 13-25 (52%) from the field. The outrebounded the Griffs 35-25 for the game and 19-8 in the second half. Siena forced 20 Canisius turnovers.

Canisius entered the game averaging 62 points a game, having scored over 75 points 7 times this season. They are the nation’s third leading three-point shooting team (39.%). They were held to just 6-21 (28.%) for the game from beyond the three-point line.

“I thought defensively we played a really good game,” said Jaques. “Canisus is capable of scoring a lot of points and to hold this team to 54 points is tremendous for our players. Overall a great team effort. Stuck with our guns. Stuck with our plan and it worked out for us.”

With the win the Saints move to 17-11 overall and 10-9 in the MAAC. Currently alone in 5th place, Siena will be guaranteed the 5 seed in the upcoming MAAC Tournament with either a Niagara loss to Iona on Saturday or a Saints win on Sunday. They can finish no lower that 6th after being picked to finish 10th in the preseason.

“It will be really great,” said Coles on the possibility of securing the 5th seed. “It will show that all this hard work that we’ve done this season, all these hours and all the adversity we’ve faced is really paying off and is all worth it. So much has happened in my past four years and for this to be my senior year, I couldn’t have asked to have it any other way.”

Hetzke, who scored Siena’s final 10 points of the game, added 8 rebounds and made some key free throws down the stretch to help seal the win.

“I try not to think so much about the fact that it’s icing the game,” said Hetzke of the free throws near the end of the game. “Usually I’m just like T, Ida say something to me. They both did. They’re both like, alright just calm down and Ida said it with her Danish accent which is always fun. It was a good win.”

Senior Tehresa Coles put in another tremendous all-around performance with 19 points, seven rebounds and 2 assists She was honored before the game with a commemorative ball marking her breaking of the Siena all-time steals record. Coles added to her total Friday night pulling off 6 steals to move her total to 293.

The Saints were 17 of 20 (86%) from the free throw line for the game while the Griffs shot 6-11 (54.5%). Coles was a perfect 8-8 and Hetzke was 5-7.

Sophomore Meghan Donohue added 9 points helping the Saints to outscore the Griffs 28-18 in the paint.

Crystal Porter led Canisius (10-19, 8-12) with 14 points and Kayla Hoohuli added 13.

Siena wraps up the regular season vs. St. Peter’s on Sunday with Senior Day honoring Kelsey Booth, Coles and Ida Krogh. Tip off at the ARC is at 2 p.m. The first 300 fans in attendance will also receive a Tehresa Coles bobblehead doll.

More postgame comments:

Ali Jaques

“I thought in the second half we made some really good reads off of their switches and that played to our advantage offensively.”

“We talked about having our best defensive game today. I thought we had a very good defensive effort in the first half. We weren’t making layups and weren’t finishing on offense but we didn’t let our offense become our defense and we really dug in and did a good job.”

“Storm really worked well tonight. I really liked how we were moving out of our matchup and our press,  Emia came in and made some really big plays with Tehresa. Defensively a really, really gritty tough win for us and sometimes you gotta win a little ugly.”

Margot Hetzke

“In the second half it was like, really focus, really buckle down.  It definitely helped with Coach talking about our defense. I think our communication was really good today and that’s something that we’ve been working on all year and I think  tonight was by far the best night which speaks to how we did on defense.”

Tehresa Coles

“It feels really good to just know that everything kinda came together and we were able to grind it out. Coach really emphasized to us that defense was gonna be huge this game for us. It really showed that we really stepped up and finished the game out with some strong defense. To be able to hold them off and actually pull out the win in the end, making clutch free throws, it just feels amazing.”

On controlling the pace of the game:

“That’s been huge for us this season. Ever since the beginning, Coach has told us that pace is what we need to focus on especially since we don’t have the deepest bench. We’ve got to know when to push and know when to pull. If we have opportunities she tells us, we are quick and we do have the ability so go if we can but don’t let the game get out of control. We’ve gotten so good at being able to control our pace and the other team’s pace as well so we are able to play to our skills.”


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