JERSEY CITY, N.J. - The Canisius women's basketball team rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit, taking advantage of 16 second-half free throws, to defeat Saint Peter's 62-52 in the Yanitelli Center on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Griffins, who have won four of their last five, improve to 6-9 overall and 3-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Jamie Ruttle and senior Ashley Durham each had a team-high 13
points while sophomore Kayla Hoohuli
scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Senior Ashley Wilkes grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds (10 in the second
half) and also posted four blocks on the day.
"In the first half, we were guarding well but just didn't get the rebounds. I felt we did a much better job of completing defensive possessions in the second half," Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. "I'm proud of the way we overcame the slow start and battled back to get another gutsy road win."
Saint Peter's (0-15, 0-4 MAAC) scored the first 11 points of the game, holding Canisius scoreless as the Griffs committed seven turnovers in the opening seven minutes. A 3-pointer from the wing from junior Jen Morabito got the Griffs on the scoreboard at the 11:51 mark. Canisius cut the deficit to 13-8 on a deep 3-pointer from Durham before the Peacocks scored the next seven points to extend the lead to 12 points, their biggest lead of the half. Canisius used 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions from Hoohuli and Ruttle to cut the deficit to 26-20 with just under two minutes left, but the Peacocks scored the final two baskets of the half and took a 30-20 lead into the locker room.
The Griffs tied the game just four minutes into the second half, including a floater from freshman Tiahana Mills, a layup from Hoohuli and a baseline jumper and 3-pointer from Ruttle from the top of the key, to tie the game at 31-31. Canisius would take its first lead of the day, going up 34-33 on a 3-pointer from Hoohuli with just under 14 minutes left.
After Saint Peter's went back up at 36-34, the Griffs entered the bonus with 12:42 left in the second half and Morabito drained both free throws to knot the score. A basket from Antonia Smith gave the Peacocks a 38-36 lead before the Griffs scored nine straight points, taking a 45-38 lead on a 3-pointer from Durham right in front of the Canisius bench. Saint Peter's didn't go away quietly, using a 7-1 run to get within two at 46-44 after a layup from Hala El Shaarawy with 6:44 left.
The Griffs then put the game away by again scoring nine straight points, including a pull-up jumper from freshman Crystal Porter and a 3-pointer from Hoohuli, to go up 55-44. The Griffs went 6-for-8 from the free-throw line in the final minute to close out the Peacocks.
Kristal Edwards led Saint Peter's with 13 points while Kaydine Bent and Smith each scored 11 points. The Griffs limited Saint Peter's to 26.8 percent from the floor and won the rebounding advantage 50-49, including 28-24 in the second half.
Canisius plays three of its next four games at home, starting with Friday's contest against defending league championship Marist College. Tipoff in the Koessler Athletic Center is set for 7 p.m.
Notes: Canisius rallied from a double-digit halftime deficit for the third time under Zeh (Dec. 30, 2007 at UMES and Jan. 12, 2006, at Manhattan)... The Griffs have rallied from a second-half deficit of six or more points in all three MAAC wins this season... Canisius snaps a two-game losing streak to Saint Peter's and wins in the Yanitelli Center for just the second time in the last six seasons.. Canisius opens MAAC play with a 3-1 record for the fourth time under Zeh and for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign... The Griffs had 15 assists on 17 made baskets... The Griffs only had seven turnovers in the final 33 minutes... The 28.3 field goal percentage is the lowest by the Griffs in a win since they shot 27.4 percent against Niagara on Feb. 28, 2009.