The Canisius women’s basketball team jumped out to a quick start and shot nearly 55 percent in defeating Siena College 75-66 at the Koessler Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Griffins improve to 10-15 overall and 6-10 in the MAAC, sweeping the season series from Siena for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Sophomore Tiahana Mills scored a career-high 16 points to go along with seven assists. Seven Golden Griffins scored at least eight points in the game with senior Jamie Ruttle contributing 12 points and junior Kayla Hoohuli scoring 11 points. Canisius improved to 9-1 this season when scoring more than 60 points and shot better than 40 percent for the 12th time.
“I liked our aggressiveness to start the game but that came with playing within ourselves. That’s a combination we have struggled with this season,” Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. “We got a little sloppy with the basketball in the second half, but players stepped up and made plays when we needed them."
Canisius scored the first seven points of the game, with senior Jen Morabito draining a 3-pointer and two free throws in the early going. Canisius led by as many as 21 points in the first half as the Griffs attacked the interior of the Siena defense. The Griffs scored 14 points in the paint in the opening 20 minutes to go along with 15 free throws. A 10-2 spurt, including seven points from Hoohuli, gave Canisius the 39-18 lead as the Griffs took a 17-point advantage into the locker room.
Siena (7-18, 2-14 MAAC) made five of its first seven shots en route to shooting 50 percent in the second half. The Saints drained 3-pointers on their first two possessions and chipped away at the Canisius lead as Siena knocked down a number of jumpers. Siena would get as close as 59-56 with just under six minutes remaining after the second of three second-half 3-pointers from Tehresa Coles.
Freshman Lauren D’Hont answered right back with a 3-pointer from the corner, and sophomore Crystal Porter knocked down a jumper to push the Canisius lead quickly back to a comfortable margin at 64-56. The Saints never seriously threatened after that five-point burst as Mills made four free throws to ice the victory.
Coles led Siena with 19 points, 15 of them coming in the second half. Kanika Cummings had 15 points.
Canisius plays its final two road games of the regular season next weekend, starting at Saint Peter’s on Thursday evening. The game, which will be televised on ESPN3, is set to tip off at 6 p.m. in Jersey City, N.J.
Notes: Canisius shot 56.2 percent in the two games against Siena this season… Mills had six or more assists for the eighth time this season, matching the highest total by a Golden Griffin in the last 10 seasons… Hoohuli reached double figures for the ninth time in 12 games but failed to make a 3-pointer for just the second time this season… Canisius limited Siena to 20 rebounds, the fewest rebounds by a Canisius opponent in the Zeh era… Canisius made a season-high 24 free throws and shot better than 90 percent from the free-throw line for the first time this season… Senior Jen Lennox had two blocks and became the fourth player in program history with 100 career blocks.