Siena Women Suffer Overtime Loss In Pink Zone Game

2015 pink zone

Despite a cold shooting night, the Siena women managed to force the game to overtime, but Niagara pulled it out in the end as they beat the Saints, 64-59 Thursday night. Even with the loss, it was a special night in the ARC as Siena hosted the  15th Annual Pink Zone, designed to raise money and awareness for Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer (CRAAB!).

Siena shot just 8-32 (25%) from the field in the first half and trailed by as many as seven points. While getting open looks they struggled to convert but managed to increase the defensive pressure to slow down the hot shooting Purple Eagles who had hit 10 of their first 15 shots. The Saints went into the break trailing by just two, 25-23.

Things were tight throughout the second half and when freshman Margot Hetzke converted 2 free throws with 2:01 remaining, the Saints had their largest lead of the game, four points, with the score 52-48. Niagara’s Kelly VanLeeuwen answered with a three-pointer and Meghan McGuinness hit one of two free throws, after a tough foul call with 5.5 seconds to go, to send the game into overtime.

Niagara scored the first four points of the extra session, but freshman Kollyns Scarbrough hit a three-pointer and senior Tehresa Coles scored on a driving layup to allow the Saints to retake the lead, 57-56 with 1:11 to go.  Victoria Rampado answered with the go-ahead basket for the Purple Eagles with 48.6 seconds remaining and Niagara hit their final 6 free throws to seal the victory.

“I’m really proud of our effort,” said  Siena coach Ali Jaques.”We didn’t have the greatest first half but for us to come back in the second half and take the lead and tie it and go to overtime, I thought we showed a lot of mental toughness. Niagara is a great team. Give them a lot of credit. They’ve been good all year. This time of year every game matters. Every possession matters.”

Hetzke led the Saints (14-10, 7-8) with 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Fellow freshman  Scarbrough added 13 points including 3 three-pointers. Sophomore Meghan Donohue scored 12 points with 5 rebounds and 3 assists and Coles finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds.

Sylvia Maxwell led Niagara (11-13, 7-8) with 15 points.Rampado and Taylor McKay each scored 14 points and McGuinness finished with 13.

The loss puts Siena in a tie for fifth place with Niagara.

“It’s great to be in the mix because last year we weren’t in the mix,” said Jaques. “Right now we are in the mix. I like coaching games like this. These games are fun. It takes strategy. It takes focus and it takes discipline and these are fun games to coach and fun games to play. Who wants to play in blow out games? Nobody, because we were on the wrong end of that too much last year.”

Siena shot just 19-62 (30.6%) from the field for the game and 5-20 from three-point range, while Niagara hit 23-51 (45.1%) overall and 5-10 from three.

“I feel like it was more us who stopped ourselves as opposed to the defense,” said Coles. “I look at what we did particularly and we just didn’t execute as well. as we are used to doing. We got a little rushed and we got out of our own pace and I think that affected how we executed.”

The Saints again won the battle of the boards outrebounding Niagara, 40-34 including 20 offensive rebounds. The scored 23 points off of 21 Purple Eagle turnovers.

Siena will look to build on their 9-2 road record as they begin a three-game road swing at Iona on Sunday. Tip off is at 2 p.m.

“I’m really proud of our progress,” Jaques said. “I know that we’re going to be fine. It’s one day at a time. We’ve got to get better and we’ve got to get ready for Iona. Iona’s got the two best players in the league we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

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