RIVERDALE, N.Y. - Maja Gerlyng's attempt at a game-tying three pointer at the buzzer was just off the mark as a furious Siena rally fell just short in a 56-53 defeat at Manhattan Thursday. Lily Grenci led the Saints with 14 points, while Clara Sole Anglada added 13.
With fourth place on the line in the MAAC Standings, Siena (6-14, 4-7) trailed by 10, 55-45 with just 3:36 remaining following a 13-4 Manhattan (11-11, 5-5) run. But the resilient Saints scored the game's next eight points to make things interesting late.
Siena did not get the game's next score until 2:31 remaining when things suddenly shifted their way. Cristina Centeno hit a pair of threes during the run, the final of which was an improbable shot. Centeno stepped back on the left wing and banked home an off balance three, the 100th of her career, to make it 55-53 with 1:04 remaining.
Manhattan turned the ball over in each of its next two possessions, but the Saints could not cash in. With eight seconds remaining, Kanika Cummings dribbled the ball off her knee leading to a crucial turnover. At the other end Maggie Blair made just one of two free throws, leaving the door open for the Saints.
Tehresa Coles drove the length of the floor and drew a pair of defenders before kicking it out to the left wing to Gerlyng. The Siena senior, who had a gutsy performance playing with the flu, teed up an open look but the shot went halfway down and out as the final horn sounded.
Siena shot 43.5% (20-46) for the game, including 50% in the second half during their comeback bid. Although they could not come all the way back in the end, twice the Saints overcame deficits of seven points or more.
Sole Anglada was a spark for the team early, making the most of her spot start. She connected on 5-6 from the field and added eight rebounds. Centeno meanwhile keyed the second half comeback, scoring all of her 12 points in the final stanza on four threes.
Schyanne Halfkenny led the Jaspers with 13 points, while Lindsey Loutsenhizer added 12. Manhattan, which entered the game leading the MAAC in steals, swiped 12 against the Saints. The Jaspers forced 21 Siena turnovers leading to a 23-14 edge in points off turnovers.
The Saints return home Saturday against Iona for a 2 p.m. tip off in a celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.