The Canisius women’s basketball team used a 13-3 second-half run and forced a season-high 25 turnovers to defeat Monmouth 60-52 in front of a capacity crowd in the Koessler Athletic Center on Kid’s Day on Friday. The Golden Griffins won for the third time in last four games and improve to 7-10 overall and 3-5 in the MAAC.
Senior Jen Morabito led Canisius with 12 points, one of three Griffs in double figures. Junior Kayla Hoohuli added 11 points, her fourth straight game in double figures. Sophomore Tiahana Mills scored 11 points while redshirt junior Courtney VandeBovenkamp had nine points, eight rebounds and three steals.
“We did some things today that really help teams when they aren’t making shots,” Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. “We stuck to our defensive game plan and answered Monmouth’s run in the second half. When the shots did fall, we had given ourselves a chance to regain control.
“As always, it was a great atmosphere on Kid’s Day, and we love playing in front of more than 2,000 students from the Buffalo area."
The teams combined for 23 first-half turnovers and neither squad shot over 30 percent in a sloppy opening 20 minutes. A six-point run by the Griffs gave them a 17-12 lead as Canisius held Monmouth to four points during a span of more than 10 minutes. Monmouth overcame its 15 first-half turnovers and 27.6 percent shooting with 12 offensive rebounds. Canisius took a four-point lead into the locker room, taking advantage of the free-throw line in the first half.
The game opened up offensively in the second half, with both teams shooting over 45 percent. Canisius maintained its lead for the first 10 minutes of the second half, before Monmouth scored eight straight points to go up 40-36 with 8:37 left.
Canisius answered by scoring on six of its next seven possessions, starting and ending with baskets from Mills, to go up 49-43 as the Griffs wouldn’t relinquish the lead down the stretch. With a 49-46 lead with 2:18 left, a 3-pointer from Monmouth rattled out, and Hoohuli came down and drained a 3-pointer from the right wing in front of the Canisius bench to put the Griffs up by six with 1:04 remaining. Canisius went 8-for-10 from the free-throw line in the final minute to put the game away.
Shira Shecht led Monmouth (4-13, 3-4 MAAC) with 10 points. The Griffs held Monmouth’s leading scorer Chevannah Paalvast to five points and forced her into seven turnovers and Paalvast fouled out in 21 minutes.
Canisius wraps up the weekend against Marist College on Sunday, with tipoff in the Koessler Athletic Center set for 3 p.m. All fans are encouraged to wear orange to the game in support of Alice's Army. For more information, click here.
Notes: Canisius improved to 8-2 all-time on Kid’s Day games in the KAC and won for the sixth time in seven years… Hoohuli has scored in double figures in four straight games for the first time in her career… The Griffs had a season-high 10 steals… Senior Jamie Ruttle moved into 19th place on the career scoring list and now has 1,060 points in her career… Senior Jen Lennox had two or more blocks for the 20th time in her career… Canisius forced 25 turnovers for the first time since Dec. 4, 2011, against Colgate.