FAIRFIELD, CONN. - Preseason MAAC First Team selection Taryn Johnson made big defensive plays down the stretch as Fairfield handed Siena its third straight loss 52-48 Monday night at Alumni Hall. Lily Grenci led Siena with 15 points and nine rebounds.
In a back and forth first half, Grenci pulled the Saints (3-10, 1-3) to a 20-all tie with 4:08 remaining. But it would be Siena's final field goal of the half as Fairfield (11-4, 4-0) closed the stanza on an 8-2 run to take a 28-22 lead at the break.
Siena came out surging to start the second half, going a 10-0 run right out of the gate to reclaim the lead, 32-28. The Stags however responded with a 10-0 run of their own to go back up by six before the Saints would make one final push.
Siena went on their second big run of the half - this time a 9-0 run - and take a 41-38 lead with 6:41 remaining after Tehresa Coles stole the ball near midcourt and went all the way for the layup.
But the Saints offense went cold late as Siena missed nine of its final 11 shots. Johnson had a pair of big blocks and a steal down the stretch, turning the tide back in Fairfield's favor.
Down three with 13.6 seconds remaining, Siena had one final chance after Clara Sole Anglada stole an inbounds pass, but Grenci's three-point attempt to tie came up well short.
Like her post counterpart Grenci, Johnson also finished with 15 points and nine rebounds and added three blocks and four steals as the Stags improved to a perfect 5-0 at home. Desiree Pina added 13 for the red-hot Stags which have won eight of nine with their only defeat coming at the hands of national power UCONN.
Coles added eight points for the Saints and Sole Anglada was once again solid off the bench with seven points, eight rebounds and three steals in 15 minutes of action.
Siena returns to action Friday night at the ARC when they host Niagara at 7 p.m. The game will be televised throughout New York State on Time Warner Cable Sports.