Jan. 26, 2004
After Siena's Kately Dooley made a three-point field goal from the corner, things looked bleak for the Niagara University women's basketball team Monday night at the Gallagher Center.
Dooley's three-pointer gave the Saints a 46-37 lead with six minutes and four seconds remaining. However, that basket would be the last basket Siena would score in the game as Niagara, behind a game-high 20 points by junior Eva Cunningham (East Aurora/Iroquois) picked up a 53-48 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference win. Niagara, which overcame 15 turnovers of its own, forced Siena into committing 20 turnovers as the Purple Eagles swept the season series from the Saints. Niagara has now won four of its last five games.
Cunningham started the Purple Eagles' comeback hopes with a putback after gathering an offensive rebound. Senior Colleen Toetz (Parma, Ohio), who added 14 points for Niagara, then converted a fast-break layup to bring the Purple Eagles within five, 46-41. Senior Sarah Heben (Lakewood, Ohio) then made two foul shots before Siena's Liene Jansone sank two free throws of her own to give Siena a 48-43 lead.
Senior Jessica Kemp (Niagara Falls, Ont.) brought the Purple Eagles back within three, 48-45, with a basket inside. After Jansone missed a shot, Cunningham hit a three-point field goal to tie the game at 48 with 2:40 remaining. A Siena turnover gave the Purple Eagles the ball and Cunningham drove the lane and was fouled. She made the foul shot to complete the conventional three-point play at 1:55 to give Niagara its first lead, 51-48, since the 1:09 mark of the first half.
Both teams traded misses before Toetz sank one of two free throws to make it 52-48 with 14.4 seconds remaining. Heben, who had a career- and game-high 14 rebounds, grabbed a key carom off a missed three-point attempt with 10 seconds left and then knocked in one of two free throws with 4.6 seconds remaining for the final margin.
Dooley led Siena (10-9, 6-4 MAAC) with 13 points while Jansone finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Kemp and Heben each had four steals for the Purple Eagles.
The Saints will return home from their western, N.Y. trip to host Fairfield University on Friday, January 30th. Game-time is set for 7 p.m.