LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - Siena posted its biggest comeback in three years, rallying from 15 down to beat Saint Peter's 70-67 Friday night at the ARC. The Peacocks' Bridget Whitfield shot a perfect 8-8 from three, finishing just one shy of the NCAA single game record in the loss.
On her bobblehead doll night, Lily Grenci finished with 21 points to lead the Saints (11-15, 7-8) to their biggest come-from-behind win since rallying from 18 down to beat Iona on Feb. 7, 2010. The senior captain went a perfect 8-8 from the foul line in the final 3:29 and scored the game's final four points from the charity stripe in the last 56 seconds to win it.
Siena needed each and every one of her foul shots as Saint Peter's (2-24, 2-13) looked anything but a team that had lost its first 18 games of the year.
Led by Whitfield and Aziza May, Saint Peter's went on a 16-0 run late in the first half to take their biggest lead of the game at 35-20 with 3:21 left in the stanza. The Peacocks, which entered the night as the fifth worst shooting team in the nation and last in the MAAC in three-point shooting, made 6-7 from the field during the run with Whitfield and May each sinking a pair of threes.
Whitfield became one of just seven players in NCAA Division I Women's Basketball history to shoot 8-8 or better from three in a game, falling just shy of Keri Farley's record-setting 9-9 game for Cornell on Dec. 20, 1993 vs. Georgetown. Whitfield, who's career-high had been seven points, finished with 24 after having entered the night with just 31 points on the season averaging 1.8 per contest.
In a half where everything seemed to go in for Saint Peter's, the Peacocks Antonia Smith hit a contested, off-balance three at the buzzer for a 38-24 lead at intermission. As a team, Saint Peter's shot 13-24 from three (54.2%) and 45.5% overall from the field for the game.
The Saints played inspired basketball right from the get go in the second half to slowly chip away at the deficit. Defensively, the Saints forced 14 second half turnovers leading to 17 points while at the offensive end they shot 55.2% (16-29) for the stanza.
Siena finally got over the hump when Grenci sunk the first two of her eight straight late free throws to give Siena the 66-65 with 2:07 left. Saint Peter's had a final chance down a point, but Kaydine Bent traveled with 15 seconds to go and an attempt at a game-tying three at the buzzer was nowhere close as Siena swept the Peacocks for the third straight season.
Grenci, who pulled to within 16 points of eclipsing 1,000 for her career, added eight rebounds for the Saints which dominated inside holding a 40-14 advantage in points in the paint and 36-28 margin in rebounding.
Tehresa Coles added 14 points and five steals for the Saints, while junior Allison Mullings had arguably her finest collegiate performance with 12 points on 6-9 shooting and a career-high five steals.
May contributed 21 points, seven assists and four steals and Bent added 10 points for Saint Peter's which shot just six free throws to the Saints' 23 attempts.
With the win, Siena remains tied for sixth in the MAAC with Canisius with three games remaining. The Saints, which are also just a game back of both Niagara and Rider for fourth, return to action Sunday for a 2 p.m. tip-off at Iona.