SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Shooting a season-best 50.8 percent from the floor and making 11 3-pointers, the No. 7 seed Canisius women's basketball team defeated No. 10 seed Saint Peter's 79-58 in the first round of the 2013 MAAC Championship in the MassMutual Center on Thursday afternoon.
Canisius advances to the quarterfinals where the Golden Griffins will face No. 2 seed Iona College. Tipoff on Friday morning is set for 9:30 a.m.
Nine Golden Griffins played at least 12 minutes in the game with six players scoring at last eight points. Senior Ashley Durham had 15 points, making four of her five 3-point attempts. Junior Jen Lennox had 10 points in 13 minutes off the bench. Senior Ashley Wilkes had eight points and eight rebounds while sophomore Kayla Hoohuli had eight points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Brooke Angelos matched her season high with seven assists.
"We had to take Saint Peter's out of its rhythm early in the game when they were making shots, and I felt our zone did just that," Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. "We made some timely 3-pointers, and hopefully can keep shooting the ball well in this tournament."
"It is important to have depth and for everyone to be ready to go in a conference tournament, and I felt we were able to utilize that today."
Saint Peter's (2-28) made seven of its first 10 shots, taking a 16-15 lead less than six minutes into the game. Canisius would hold the Peacocks to 6-of-20 from the floor for the rest of the half. The Griffs created some separation with a nine-point spurt, turning a 24-24 tie into a 33-24 lead. Durham and junior Jen Morabito each drained 3-pointers during the run, which was capped by a jumper from Lennox. Junior Jamie Ruttle scored the last five points of the half for the Griffs, who took a 40-29 lead into the locker room.
The Griffs scored five quick points, getting a putback from Ruttle and a 3-pointer from Hoohuli, to take a 45-29 lead just over a minute into the second half. Saint Peter's would never get the deficit to single digits the rest of the way, as Canisius pulled away with a 14-3 run, getting 3-pointers from Morabito and Hoohuli as well as two baskets from freshman Crystal Porter.
Kristal Edwards led Saint Peter's with 17 points while Jesika Holmes had 10 points. The Peacocks ended up shooting 37.1 percent from the field on the day after the 7-of-10 start.
Notes: Canisius and Saint Peter's met in the first round of the tournament for the third time in the last four years. Canisius now holds a 3-2 lead in five postseason meetings between the teams... The 40 first-half points for the Griffs were one off their season high of 41 at Long Beach on Dec. 20... Canisius has won a postseason game for the 12th time in the last 14 years... Canisius had 20 assists on 30 made baskets... The 79 points for the Griffs matched a season-high (79 at Iona on Feb. 16)... The 24-point win was the largest of the season for the Griffs... Canisius shot 50 percent in a game for the first time since Feb. 2, 2012, against Loyola... Freshman Emily Weber scored her first collegiate points with two baskets in the game... The Griffs also made 11 3-pointers this season at Loyola on Jan. 24... Canisius improved to 10-7 this season when nine or more players play double-digit minutes... Freshman Jasmine Mungo dressed for the first time since Jan. 12, playing four minutes... Freshman Tiahana Mills played nine minutes after missing the previous three games.