BUFFALO, N.Y. - Sometimes prayers are answered. Unfortunately for Siena Women's Basketball, their opponents have had two gigantic prayers answered in the past two games. Freshman point guard Tiahana Mills banked home a half court heave at the buzzer as Canisius stunned Siena 65-62 in front of a sold out crowd of 2,196 at the Koessler Athletic Center.
After Kanika Cummings tied the game for Siena (4-8, 0-1) on a driving lay in with 3.0 seconds remaining, Canisius (4-8, 1-0) inbounded the ball to Mills. She took two dribbles and released from right at the midcourt stripe, banking home the miracle as the sellout crowd went into bedlam.
Siena had rallied from an early 14-point deficit after Canisius raced out to a 17-3 lead just over five and a half minutes into the game. But the Golden Griffins cooled off and although Siena shot just 17.9% (5-28) in the first half, they pulled to within 25-19 at the break.
Both teams' offenses went off early and often in the second half and Siena came all the way back to tie the game at 32 with 16:08 remaining. It would be the first of 10 ties and eight lead changes over the remainder of the game.
Siena shot 46.4% (13-28) from the field in the second half en route to scoring 43 points in the stanza. After a back and forth start to the final stanza, Siena finally broke things open with a 7-0 run to reclaim a 58-52 lead following a Lily Grenci three-point play with 3:31 remaining.
But arguably the MAAC's top defender, Tehresa Coles, who scored all nine of her points during the second half comeback, fouled out with 2:30 to go and Canisius took advantage.
The Griffs responded with a 9-0 run capped by a Kayla Hoohuli three with 47 seconds left to take a 61-58 lead. Siena closed the gap in the waning seconds leading to the final decisive play, but missed all three of their foul shots in the final 32 seconds which could have altered the outcome. Overall, Siena made 22-30 (73.3%) free throws.
Grenci led the Saints with 16 points, while Cummings added a season-high 11 off the bench. Clara Sole Anglada added 10 points for Siena which suffered its second straight heartbreaking defeat. Siena led by five with 36 seconds to go Sunday at Sacred Heart, before the Pioneers hit the game-winning go-ahead free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining.
Mills finished with a career-high 12 points and six assists, while Ashley Wilkes and Ashley Durham led Canisius with 16 points apiece.
Siena closes out their season long four-game road trip Sunday when they travel to Niagara for a 2 p.m. tip-off.