Jan. 2, 2011
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - If Sunday's game is any indication of how the new year will go, then the Saints should be primed for a successful 2011. Maja Gerlyng scored a career-high 20 points and Serena Moore scored 16 of her 19 points in the second half as Siena defeated Iona 60-55 in the conference opener for both schools.
In a game that strongly resembled Siena's (3-8, 1-0) win last Thursday over Fordham, the Saints pressure defense once again stepped up big and the offense came through with timely shots in the second half. Siena forced Iona (4-9, 0-1), the unanimous pick to finish second in the MAAC Preseason Coaches Poll, to eight second half turnovers while offensively the Saints shot 52% (13-for-25) during the decisive half.
Once again the Saints were without Moore for most of the first half as the senior forward played just six first half minutes after picking up two quick fouls. But as was the case Thursday, Siena's supporting cast picked up the slack as the Saints' snapped a five-game losing streak in New Rochelle.
Gerlyng was clutch, scoring 14 of her points during the second half and knocked down the two clinching free throws in the waning seconds. Siena shot an impressive 12-for-15 (80%) from the line after shooting just 38.5% (20-for-52) from the charity stripe the previous four games.
In an entertaining contest that featured seven tied and 10 lead changes, Iona scored five straight points to tie the game one final time at 48 with 6:42 remaining. But Gerlyng and Moore scored the next seven points of the game to put things out of reach as the Saints left the Hynes Athletics Center victorious for the first time since an 80-63 win on Jan. 20, 2005. The duo combined to score 30 of Siena's 34 second half points on 12-for-18 (66.7%) shooting.
Siena held Iona's leading scorer Kristina Ford, who entered the game averaging 12.2 points, to just six points on 2-for-9 shooting. Anda Ivkovic led the Gaels with 19 points.
Lily Grenci chipped in eight points in 15 minutes off the Siena bench, while Cristina Centeno added seven points and three assists without a turnover. Siena did a good job protecting the rock as they tied a season-low in turnovers for a second time in three games with just 11 miscues.
Siena will aim to move to 2-0 in the MAAC for a second straight year when they return to action Tuesday at Manhattan. Tip-off is scheduled for a special time of 11:30 a.m. as the Jaspers host their Kid's Day game.