The Canisius women’s basketball team built a 10-point lead in the second half and answered every Rider shot down the stretch in a 76-72 win over the Broncs in Lawrenceville on Sunday afternoon.
Three Golden Griffins reached double figures, led by a season-high 14 points from redshirt junior Courtney VandeBovenkamp. Senior Jamie Ruttle and junior Kayla Hoohuli each added 12 points. Freshman Tamara Miskovic matched her career high with five assists in 16 minutes while sophomore Tiahana Mills made seven free throws in the final three minutes to seal the win for the Griffs, who shot 64 percent in the second half.
“After Friday’s game, we talked about being gritty and how it’s not easy to win games,” Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. “I thought we showed that grit, and got great leadership from some of our upperclassmen that really rubbed off on our team.”
Canisius led by as many as eight points in the first half, using a five-point spurt to go up 24-16 after a 3-pointer from freshman Lauren D’Hont and two free throws from senior Jen Morabito. Rider tied the game up, but a 3-pointer from junior Brooke Angelos put the Griffs up 28-25. The Broncs then used an 8-2 run to close out the half and take a three-point lead into the locker room.
The Griffs scored the first seven points of the second half to take a four-point lead, but the Broncs answered right back to take a 45-41 lead with 13:42 left. Canisius took control with an 11-point run, including a three-point play as well as a 3-pointer from Hoohuli. Canisius extended the lead to double digits on three occasions, including a 3-pointer from Morabito to go up 65-55 with 5:52 left.
Rider (7-8, 3-3 MAAC) wouldn’t go away quietly, scoring the next six points to make it 65-61. Mills made three free throws to push the lead back to seven, but Mikal Johnson drained a 3-pointer to make it a four-point game with 2:04 left. VandeBovenkamp scored on a layup but Johnson made another 3-pointer to make it a three-point game.
The teams traded empty possessions before Hoohuli converted a reverse layup to make it 72-67 with 41 seconds left. Rider would get two layups from MyNeshia McKenzie but Mills was up to the task each time, making four free throws in the final 24 seconds to ice the game.
McKenzie had 24 points and 16 rebounds for Rider with six steals in 40 minutes. Lashay Banks added 14 points while Johnson had 10 points and five assists.
Canisius (6-10, 2-5 MAAC) returns home for two games in the Koessler Athletic Center next weekend. The Golden Griffins host Monmouth University on Friday, with an 11 a.m. tipoff on Kid’s Day, which will feature a capacity crowd is for the fourth straight year.
Notes: Angelos made her first start of the season. The junior started the final five games of the 2012-13 campaign… Canisius won for the second time this season when trailing at the half… The Griffs defeated the Broncs for the sixth consecutive meeting… The 21 made free throws for Canisius were a season high… Canisius also shot a season-high 47.2 percent from the field… Hoohuli has scored in double figures in three straight games for the third time in her career... All 10 Golden Griffins scored and also played at least 10 minutes... Canisius won for the first time in 18 games when its opponent shot 40 percent or better from the field... Canisius also won for the first time since Jan. 4, 2009, at Niagara when allowing 70 or more points in regulation.