ROCHESTER, Mich. — The Canisius women’s basketball team picked up its first road win of the season with a 62-57 victory over Oakland University at the Athletics Center O’Rena on Saturday night. The Golden Griffins improve to 2-1 on the season.
Senior Jen Morbaito led Canisius with 16 points, making four 3-pointers for the third time in as many games. Junior Jamie Ruttle had 13 points while sophomore Tiahana Mills had seven points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Canisius shot 46 percent from the floor, including 16-for-28 inside the arc, and had 20 assists on 23 made baskets. The Griffs held Oakland to 32.8 percent from the floor and didn’t allow a fast-break point in the contest.
“That was a gritty, road win, and it’s great to get one of those early in the season,” Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. “We made some big plays down the stretch, especially staying true to our defensive principles against Oakland's dribble-drive offense.
“I also was pleased to see that we improved in our transition defense after working on that following the Michigan State game.”
After both teams struggled from the floor in the first half with Canisius holding a 23-19 halftime lead, the game opened up offensively in the second half. Oakland (0-3) took a 42-40 lead with just under 10 minutes left after a 3-pointer from Olivia Nash. It was the first lead for the Grizzlies since an early 3-2 lead.
Canisius re-gained control of the game with a 10-point spurt in just under 90 seconds. Mills drove the lane for layups on back-to-back possessions. Junior Kayla Hoohuli drained a 3-pointer and as the shot was in the air, sophomore Crystal Porter drew a foul while setting a screen, which gave the ball back to the Griffs. Mills connected on a 3-pointer from the opposite wing less than 10 seconds later to put the Griffs up 50-42.
Oakland battled back and trimmed the Canisius lead to one point on two separate occasions, but the Griffs never gave up the lead. A putback from Kim Bee made it 58-57 with just under two minutes remaining. Neither team scored on their ensuing possession and then Hoohuli was called for an offensive foul on a drive to the basket. On the next possession, Bethany Watterworth was called for an illegal screen, giving Canisius the ball up by one with 26 seconds.
After Hoohuli made two free throws with 12 seconds left to put Canisius up 60-57, the Griffs forced Oakland into a tough 3-pointer from the right wing. Morabito grabbed her team-best seventh rebound of the game and made two free throws to put the game away.
Bee posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Elena Popke had 17 points and eight rebounds while Victoria Lipscomb had eight assists.
Canisius concludes its three-game road stretch at Binghamton on Tuesday night. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Notes: Canisius and Oakland met for the second time in program history and for the first time in Rochester, Mich… Redshirt junior Courtney VandeBovenkamp made her first start since Feb. 19, 2012, against Fairfield… Canisius is 2-1 for the first time since 2007-08… The eight assists for Mills were a career high… Morabito has made four or more 3-pointers in three straight games for the first time in her career… Sophomores Crystal Porter and Emily Weber did not play in the first half due to a violation of team rules.