Jan. 21, 2008
Albany, N.Y. - Senior guard Melissa Manzer exploded for a game-high 23 points leading the Siena women's basketball team to a 67-62 victory over Niagara (3-15, 1-6) this afternoon in Albany. Fellow tri-captain Laura Menty and junior guard Shondaya Burrell also scored in double-figures helping Siena (7-10, 3-4) earn its second straight victory and improve to a perfect 3-0 at the Times Union Center.
"This was another great win for us," said head coach Gina Castelli. "It wasn't easy, but we played well and got the job done. I was very pleased with our bench production today."
The Saints jumped out to an early 15-4 advantage after holding the Purple Eagles scoreless through the first 6:19 of the contest. Niagara missed its first eight field goal attempts.
The Purple Eagles recuperated and slowly chipped away at Siena's 11 point lead, its largest of the game. With 1:37 on the clock, Niagara sophomore guard Jennifer McNamee connected on her second 3-pointer giving the Purple Eagles its first advantage of the contest. The bucket capped off a 7-0 run as Niagara entered the half on top 28-25.
The second stanza proved to be a see-saw battle as the contest came to a tie eight times and saw seven lead changes. At the 1:59 mark, Heather Stec connected on the front end of a 1-and-1 to regain the Saints' lead for good.
Siena outscored the Purple Eagles 10-3 over the final 2:45 of the game, eight points coming from the free-throw line.
With the contest still in limbo, Burrell swatted Niagara senior guard Michelle Manfredi's mid-range jumper to preserve the Saints two point advantage. Burrell proceeded to recover the loose ball and take it coast-to-coast for fast break bucket extending Siena's lead to 63-59 with just 32 second left in regulation.
Senior forward Sarah Wilson responded with a 3-point field goal on the very next possession to cut the Purple Eagles deficit to a single point. However, this was as close as Niagara would get as Manzer knocked down four consecutive free-throws to secure the victory. It marked the second straight year Manzer dropped 23 points on her birthday.
Niagara's bench outscored the Saints 31-12 courtesy of a team-high 13 points from sophomore Jaclyn Konieczka. On the flip side, Siena edged the Purple Eagles 20-10 scoring in the paint.
Menty, the MAAC's leading scorer, finished with 16 points going 5-8 from the field. Burrell contributed 10 points, four rebounds and a pair of assists in the winning effort.
The Saints return to action on Friday to square off with archrival Marist in Poughkeepsie. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.