LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - With first place in the MAAC on the line, Siena wasn't about to give up its stranglehold on the top spot in the conference. Cristina Centeno poured in a game-high 19 points, leading the Saints to their fifth straight win and a 4-0 start in the MAAC with a 54-46 victory over Fairfield.
With the victory, now just the Saints (6-8, 4-0) and Marist stand atop the MAAC standings. The fifth straight win matches the program's longest winning streak since December of 2005 and the 4-0 conference start is the best since Siena began the 2001-02 season 14-0.
Fairfield (10-4, 3-1) had built a modest four-point lead at 15-11 with 8:24 remaining in the first half, but Centeno keyed a 12-2 run with eight points as the Saints took a 23-17 advantage into the lockerroom.
Centeno made 5-for-7 from the field and knocked in all three of her threes for the evening, leading a resurgent Siena offense that shot 48.7% (19-for-39) from the floor. She continuously hit big shot after big shot, including a leaner in the lane with the shot clock expiring that capped a tiebreaking 6-0 Siena run that put the Saints up 38-32 with 6:04 remaining.
Fairfield entered the game second in the nation allowing just 47.3 points per game, but it was Siena's "D" that looked more like an impenetrable force Monday night as the Saints held their opponent to less than 50 points for a fourth time during their five-game winning streak.
The Saints suffocated Fairfield, holding the Stags to just 31% (18-for-58) shooting including just 6-for-29 (20.7%) from three. The Stags had entered the game as the MAAC's most prolific three-point shooting team at 35.2%.
Fairfield's top four scorers of Katelyn Linney, Taryn Johnson, Desiree Pina and Joelle Nawrocki had entered the game averaging 42.4 points. But the quartet was stymied all night long, combining for just 26 points on 8-for-37 (21.6%) shooting as the Stags saw their six-game winning streak halted.
Serena Moore and Maja Gerlyng once again reached double figures with 15 and 11 points respectively as Siena snapped a four-game losing skid against the Stags in the Capital Region. Along with Centeno, the trio had another dominating performance, combining for 45 of Siena's 54 points and has totaled 93 of the team's 107 points over the past two games.
Brittany MacFarlane paced Fairfield with 10 points and 13 rebounds for her first career double-double. Linney, the MAAC's second leading scorer entering the night at 13.7 points per game, contributed 11 points albeit on just 4-for-16 shooting and was a non-factor for most of the game.
Siena looks to remain atop the MAAC this weekend when they make their annual trip to Western New York. The road trip begins Friday with an early 11 a.m. "Kid's Day" tip at Niagara.