Feb. 15, 2003
Four Siena starters scored in double figures, led by junior center Liene Jansone's 16 points, as the visiting Saints defeated Saint Peter's, 68-61, in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference women's college basketball Saturday afternoon.
The win gave Siena, the defending MAAC regular season champion, sole possession of second place with an 11-3 conference record, while Saint Peter's, which won last year's MAAC Tournament title, drops into third place with a 10-4 MAAC mark. Manhattan, which did not play today, leads the race with an 11-2 record. Each MAAC team plays 18 conference games.
Siena, 18-6 overall, has won four in a row and seven of its last eight. Saint Peter's, which had won nine of its previous 10 coming in, drops to 13-10 overall.
The Saints got nearly all their production from the starters, who accounted for 66 of the team's 68 points and 28 of the 31 individual rebounds. The starters' statistics were exceptionally balanced, however. Jansone, the center from Latvia, made all seven shots from the field and paced Siena in scoring (16 points) and in rebounds (8). Senior forward Gunta Basko, also from Latvia, got 15 points and 7 rebounds, while guards Nathalie Marchino and Erica Anderson scored 14 and 13, respectively. The only starter short of double-figure scoring was forward Jolene Johnston, who got 8 points, but matched Basko's 7 rebounds.
Saint Peter's, which beat Siena, 64-60, on January 20 in Albany, NY, lost Saturday, despite a game-high 21 points by junior guard Lindsay Gonzalez. Senior Kim McDonough was the Peahens' only other double-figure scorer, netting 14 points in 18 minutes off the bench. Junior forward Shaka Cushnie, who also played a reserve role, led all rebounders, with 9 boards for Saint Peter's.
Siena never trailed, but the visitors never seemed in complete control and the outcome remained in question until to closing minutes. The Saints scored the first eight points, but didn't get the lead to double figures until Jansone's layup gave them a 22-12 lead with 5:57 left in the first half. Even then, Saint Peter's came back with an 11-3 run that cut the deficit to two, 25-23, on Cushnie's bucket with 2:32 left. Siena, scoreless since the 4:15 mark, finally got back on the board when Basko grabbed a defensive rebound, drove fullcourt and scored a layup at the buzzer for a 27-23 Siena halftime lead.
Cushnie scored the first basket of the second half, pulling Saint Peter's back within two, 27-25, with 19:37 left, but Johnston answered with a basket 17 second later and the Siena lead ranged from as little as three to as many as eight points over the next 7:05.
Jansone's basket with 12:23 left gave Siena its first double-digit lead of the second half, 44-34. Saint Peter's answered with a 5-0 run, cutting the lead back to 44-39, with 9:14 left after two free throws by Peahen Kim McDonough.
Siena then went on the decisive spurt, outscoring the home team, 8-1, over the next 4:24 and taking the biggest lead of the game--12 points at 52-40, after Anderson's three-pointer from the right corner with 4:50 left. Saint Peter's never got closer than six the rest of the way.
Siena will next host Canisius College on Friday, February 21. Game-time is set for 7:00 pm.