The Canisius women's basketball team played one of its most complete games of the season, defeating Rider University 75-68 in the Koessler Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon. The Golden Griffins, who have won five of their last seven games, improve to 7-10 overall and 4-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Senior Ashley Durham scored a season-high 25 points, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. Four Golden Griffins reached double figures for the second time this season, with sophomore Kayla Hoohuli scoring 11 points and seniors Allison Braun and Ashley Wilkes each adding 10 points. Junior Jen Lennox tied the program record with six blocks on the day. The Griffs shot 42.6 percent from the floor, 90.5 percent from the free-throw line and held a 44-36 advantage in rebounding.
"We had a lot of pieces come together today, which was great to see, and Ashley gave us a really good effort," Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. "Down the stretch we got a little tentative, but we made enough plays to never lose the lead."
Canisius jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, getting 3-pointers from Hoohuli and Durham on the first two possessions. Rider went ahead 12-10 just over five minutes into the game on a 3-pointer from Emily Fazzini, who had 10 of Rider's first 16 points. A layup from Durham tied the score at 24-24, starting an 8-0 run for Canisius as the Griffs didn't trail the rest of the game. Canisius took a 38-32 lead into the locker room as Durham scored 19 points in the first half.
Canisius used a 9-0 run early in the second half to build its biggest lead of the game, going up 51-38 on a jumper from Wilkes with just under 13 minutes left. Rider came back with 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to quickly get within seven. The Broncs used a 7-0 run later in the second half to get as close as 61-60 on a jumper from MyNeshia McKenzie with less than five minutes left in the game.
Canisius then held Rider without a basket for nearly four minutes, using a pull-up jumper and layup from junior Jamie Ruttle along with a turnaround jumper from Braun, to go up 67-60. The Broncs ended their drought with a layup from McKenzie to get within five at 67-62 with 1:05 left. Canisius made all eight of its free throws in the final minute of the game, and would need each one. Rider got a layup from McKenzie to get within five at 71-66 and then used a steal on the next play from Sironda Chambers, who finished the play with a layup to get within three with 31 seconds left. Angelos made two free throws on the next possession to push the lead back to five points, The Griffs got a defensive stop and then used two more free throws from Durham to put the game away.
McKenzie led Rider (7-10, 2-4 MAAC) with 20 points and nine rebounds. Fazzini finished with 17 points and Chambers scored 15 points.
Canisius heads to the mid-Atlantic to face Loyola University on Thursday morning. Game time at Reitz Arena for the Kid's Day game is set for 11 a.m.
Notes: Canisius and Rider met for the second time in 11 days... The Griffs improve to 15-2 all-time against the Broncs in Buffalo and have won five straight in the series... Canisius scored a season-high 75 points... Lennox her third start of the season while Braun made her seventh start... Ruttle didn't start a conference game for the first time in her Canisius career... Durham's 19 first-half points are the most by a Golden Griffin in the first half since Amanda Cavo had 21 at Niagara on Feb. 26, 2006... Lennox matched the program record for blocks with her six rejections, most recently accomplished by Laura Buetow on Jan. 25, 2008, vs. Manhattan... Canisius had four players in double figures for the second time this season (Nov. 9 vs. Buffalo)... Canisius shot over 40 percent in each half for the second time this season (Dec. 1 at Akron).