Feb. 29, 2008
Lawrenceville, N.J. - Junior guard Shondaya Burrell pumped in a career-high 31 points and senior tri-captain Laura Menty added 27 as the Siena women's basketball team posted an 84-81 victory over Rider this evening in Lawrenceville, N.J. The 84 points were a season-high for the Saints (11-17, 7-11) who enter the MAAC Tournament on a two game win streak.
"This was a really good road win for our team over a strong Rider team, remarked head coach Gina Castelli. "Everyone stepped up and was able to score inside which proved to be the difference."
Siena got off to a slow start, making just two of their first 11 field goal attempts, while Rider (8-21, 3-15) connected on seven of their first 10 attempts to open an early nine point cushion at 15-6 following a Janele Henderson three with 12:37 to go in the first half. The three gave Henderson, the Broncs lone senior, her 1,000th career point.
The Saints turned up the offense though soon thereafter and made 13 of their final 19 shots in the half to head into intermission down just one, 35-34.
In the second half, Rider extended their lead to as many as five at 52-47 following another Henderson three with 11:41 remaining. On her Senior Night, Henderson finished with 22 points and cashed in on six of the Broncs 11 made threes.
The Green and Gold answered right back with a 10-0 run over the next three and a half minutes to take a five point lead of their own, 57-52 at the 7:49 mark. The Saints extended their lead to as much as eight, 64-56, following a Burrell slashing lay up with 4:24 to go.
But Siena could not put away Rider as they responded with an 8-0 run of their own to make it interesting down the stretch. After Burrell made two clutch free throws with 11 seconds to go to give Siena a three point lead (69-66), the Broncs had one final chance.
After a timeout with 2.4 seconds left, it was Henderson again who struck gold as she hit a desperation off-balance three from 27 feet away as the clock reached triple zeros to send the game to overtime. Ironically, it was the second time in less than a month that Rider hit a buzzer beater against the Saints to send the game to an extra session.
But this time overtime was the Saints to have as they made four of their five field goal attempts and seven of their eight free throw shots to escape with the victory.
Burrell finished 9-for-17 from the floor on her career night and connected on 13 of her 15 free throw attempts, while adding seven assists. Menty was 12-24 from the floor, while Heather Stec added a double-double with 13 and 14 rebounds.
As has been their motto of late, Siena did a great job protecting the rock as they dished out 20 assists as opposed to a season-low eight turnovers. The Saints also had a field day in the paint, posting a season-high 56 points in the lane, which aided them in shooting 51.6% from the floor (32-62).
"In 45 minutes of play to only turn the ball over eight times says a lot about how this team played tonight, added Castelli. "And to get 20 assists really shows how well our offense was in sync."
Rider placed all five starters in double figures. Sophomore forward Stephanie Wisniewski complimented Henderson's performance with a double-double, tallying 13 points and 15 rebounds.
With the win, the Saints are still uncertain about their tournament seeding. Siena can still finish as high as sixth or as low as eighth depending on tomorrow's conference outcomes. Stay posted to SienaSaints.com over the weekend for the latest news on where the Saints will place.