Siena Women To Fight For Albany Cup

tehresa coles albany cup

The Siena women kick of their 2013-2014 season Friday night in the first game of a double header with the men’s team, against UAlbany in the annual Albany Cup Game. Tip off at the Times Union Center is at 5 p.m. The Saints are coming off their first season under head coach Ali Jaques in which they finished with a record of 13-18, 8-10 in the MAAC, advancing to the semifinals in the conference tournament.

Jaques and her team are excited to kick off a new season.

“It’s our home opener so everybody’s gonna be excited for that and add on top of it the rivalry, it speaks for itself in town, said Jaques. “It’s a huge game and to say anything otherwise just isn’t true. The girls had this one circled for a while.”

The Saints return 11 letter winners and four starters from last season but will be looking to replace the production of First Team All-MAAC selection Lily Grenci who was the team’s leading scorer (15.9 ppg.) and rebounder (9.5rpg.).

Despite the loss of Grenci this year’s team is an experienced group with 10 upperclassmen. Junior guard and team captain Tehresa Coles is the Saints leading returning scorer (9.1 ppg.) Last season she led the MAAC with 90 steals and ranked 28th nationally averaging 2.9 steals per game. Also projected to start in the opener are seniors Clara Sole Anglada (6-1), Kanika Cummings (5-9) and Ciara Stewart (5-7) as well as 6-2 freshman Meghan Donohue.

Joining Donohue in the freshmen class is local Albany High standout, Emia Willingham, cousin of Siena great Marc Brown, point guard Bri Logan and Halee Adams a talented player who will miss the early part of the season due to injury. All are expected to contribute significantly this season and add a new dimension to the team.

“They’re going to play a lot,” Jaques said. “I’ve got a much deeper team this year than I had last year and have a lot of options.”

The game marks the 11th D-1 meeting between the two teams with Siena leading the series 6-4. However, Albany has won the last 3 Albany Cup games including a 65-48 win last season.

The Danes are coming off a season with a record of 27-4 overall and a perfect 16-0 in the America East. They were predicted to finish first in the 2013-14 America East Preseason Coaches’ Poll and received eight of nine first place votes. They return seven letter winners but just one starter, Sarah Royals. Also returning, America East Co-Rookie of the Year 6-1 sophomore forward Shereesha Richards and Third Team All-America East 6-9 junior center Megan Craig.

Jaques spoke of how the Saints will attempt to deal with the size and limit the production of Craig who finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in last year’s meeting.

“I think you have to try to put as much ball pressure as you can on everybody else and limit her touches the best you can,” said Jaques. “Even as their season went on last year, she became a much better player for them down the stretch. It’s a real challenge for us and something we have to contend with. You just have to change your game plan. We’ve got some things up our sleeve so we’ll see.”

They Danes will be looking to replace all-time leading scorer and three-time America East Defensive Player of the Year Ebone Henry and all-time leading rebounder Julie Forster.

‘We’ve definitely got our work cut out for us, Jaques said. “Katie’s (UAlbany coach Abraham-Henderson) done a great job and it’s gonna be a challenge for us to come out and compete and hopefully get that cup back to Siena where it belongs.”

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