BUFFALO, N.Y. - Needing a win to avoid having to play in the First Round of the MAAC Tournament, Siena looked to its senior leader to make sure they secured a bye to the quarterfinals. Cristina Centeno scored a season-high 21 points, leading Siena to a 69-57 victory at Canisius. With the win, Siena will be the No. 6 seed and play at 11:30 a.m. Friday in Springfield, Mass.
Siena (11-16, 9-9) will play the No. 3 seed Manhattan in the MAAC Quarterfinals. The Saints and Jaspers split the regular season series with each team winning on its homecourt.
After Canisius (12-17, 6-12) opened the game with a three, Siena responded with a 14-0 run over the next six minutes and would not trail again.
With starters Maja Gerlyng, Clara Sole Anglada and Tehresa Coles all picking up two early fouls and combining to play just 21 first half minutes, Siena's other two starters - Centeno and Lily Grenci - and the bench stepped up. Siena shot 50% in the first half and made 6-10 from three to take a 34-28 lead at the break.
The Golden Griffins never got closer than three points in the second half and leading 45-41 with 10:19 remaining, the Saints went on a 10-3 run over the next four minutes to go back up by double figures and secure the win.
Centeno, who also made a trio of threes, dished out five assists to move into 10th place on the program's all-time assists chart. Grenci added 14 points and seven rebounds and Sole Anglada contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and six steals.
Ashley Wilkes led Canisius with 18 points, while Jamie Ruttle added 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Griffs lost their fifth in a row. Canisius already knew its MAAC Tournament fate prior to the game and will be the No. 8 seed and play No. 9 Saint Peter's in the First Round Thursday at 2 p.m.