Siena Women Out Battle Monmouth

hetzke marist

The Siena women were taken down to the wire by a big, physical team in Monmouth, but the toughness of the resilient Saints lineup held up to the challenge as they battled to a 65-58 win on Saturday at the Alumni Recreation Center. The win places Siena alone in 5th place as they move to an even 7-7 in the MAAC and 14-9 overall.

“Like every game in the MAAC this was a really hard-fought win for us,” said Siena coach Ali Jaques. “Monmouth’s a really talented team. They do a lot of imposing things, just their size alone inside and the style they play. It’s not how we want to play but I thought we did a good job of controlling pace.”

Siena got off to slow start scoring just 6 points in the first ten minutes of the game. Soon after a time out they found themselves trailing by 9 points, 15-6 with under 10 minutes to go before the break. But, things turned around quickly as the Saints went on a 23-4 run to build a 29-19 lead with 3:39 to go in the half.

“Our players got together in the huddle and said something to each other,” Jaques said. “Something sparked. Our defense sparked our offense a little but. I thought we were a step slow to start but when these guys want to, they can really control their own destiny.”

“I just wanted to emphasize, next play,” said Siena senior Tehresa Coles. “Okay they just scored but what are we gonna do now to get it back. Coach has harped on us, stop-score-stop. It’s kind of like a motto in practice. It’s a drill that we do. That’s how you win.”

The Saints carried a 31-26 lead into the break. They could not buy a basket early on but ended up a respectable 12-26 (46%) from the field while Monmouth shot just 9-28 (32%) in the first 20 minutes.

Siena grew their lead to as many as 15 points with 13:36 to go in the game on a pair of Emia Willingham free throws capping a 12-2 run. Monmouth would not go away however as Sarah Olsen heated up scoring 19 second half points including 5 three-pointers to make a game of it.

The Siena lead was cut to just two points with 1:40 to go and after Coles missed the front end of a one-and-one, she pulled off a key steal and was fouled with just over a minute left. Monmouth missed their final five shots while Coles hit 4 straight free throws in the closing seconds and Ida Krogh hit 2 of 2 to seal the victory.

Coles finished with 16 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals for Siena. Freshman Margot Hetzke also finished with 16 points along with 6 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Krogh added 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.

Monmouth (9-14, 5-9) was led by Olsen who finished with a game-high 22 points on 8-12 shooting from the field overall and 6-9 three-pointers. She also added 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Amanda Offenback added 12 points for the Hawks.

“Sarah Olsen’s a really talented player,” said Jaques. “She had her way with us down there (27 points). She played phenomenal tonight. Give Monmouth a lot for credit. They never quit. I’m proud of our team for sticking together and finding a way to gut this one out.”

The Saints were tough inside against a much larger team in Monmouth who has a 6-5 player and a pair of 6-4 players as well. They outscored the Hawks 30-16 in the paint. Siena also did a good job getting to the free-throw line as they continue to make more free throws than their opponent attempt. They were 19-25 (76%) from the line while Monmouth was just 8-13 (61.5%).

“It was a lot of fun,” said Hetzke. “They are definitely really big. This week we worked a lot on making sure we are making post moves. Its not gonna work if we just turn around and shoot ’cause we’re giving up a lot of height. Coach really focused on, make a move and be strong with it. I think in the first couple minutes there was a little bit of, wow they’re really big. Coach and our seniors were like, alright, get over it and I think we did a good job getting over it.”

The Saints outrebounded their opponent (37-36)  for what is now the 24th time in the last 25 games (one tie) dating back to last season.

Siena returns to action on Thursday as the take on Niagara in the annual Pink Zone Game. Tipoff at the ARC is scheduled for 7 pm.


More postgame Comments:

Siena coach Ali Jaques:

“We had some let ups in the second half but just showed a lot of poise down the stretch when it really mattered to make free throws and close this one out.”

“I thought there were some possessions in there that were empty. We might have forced things and not gotten the best shot we could have but when you have a player like Tehresa Coles who’s a senior who understands that games are won on the block and the free throw line, she got fouled and she made her free throws. That’s how you win.”

“I give Theresa and our team a lot of credit for just bucking down and staying calm and staying in the moment and not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”

“For us it’s been a process all year learning how to win. With this great group of seven kids, the great thing about them is they’re very coachable. Just continuing to learn how to win.”

“We haven’t played our best game yet. It’s still out there waiting for us. We’re gonna go get it.”


Tehresa Coles:

“One of the things we’ve been focusing on is playing a strong 40 minutes. When we come out weak, we’ve been doing a really good job of getting together as a team in huddles and just focusing on just doing it one possession at a time. We’re trying to play the game at our pace. that’s something Coach has been harping on us to play at our pace rather than their pace.”

“We do love playing at home. The community and the support that we have and the people who come to our games, it’s amazing and it’s a great feeling to be able to play hard for them and be able to make them feel like they’re excited to be here and want to come to more and more games. It’s great that we were able to get the win here.”

“We’ve got to be able to put a whole entire game together, go hard the entire time. We cant have any let ups and we’ve really got to know the scouting report.”


Margot Hetzke:

“What we can learn from this game is sometimes we hit a little but of a lull in the second half and we’ve really been trying to focus on getting rid of that. We need 40 minutes straight of hard basketball. For a little bit there, we got kind of a scare that we need to get it back together. We did tonight but I think we can still work on that.”

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