March 2, 2007
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Junior guard Melissa Manzer knocked down a 3-pointer with four seconds remaining to send Siena (10-19, 8-10) past Fairfield (15-15, 11-7) 56-55 to earn a semifinal matchup with top seeded Marist. Laura Menty, a junior forward, led the Saints with 16 points and seven rebounds. Fairfield guard Sabra Wrice topped all scorers with 29 points on the afternoon.
"This was a great game," said head coach Gina Castelli. "It was another classic game from the Siena-Fairfield rivalry. Our team fought hard all game long and never gave up. I am just very happy that our team came up on top."
Wrice scored first and frequent as she was responsible for 12 of the Lady Stags first 14 points. The Saints trailed all but 40 seconds in the first half as Fairfield entered intermission with a 28-25 advantage. Wrice scored 19 points over the first 20 minutes of action, equaling her first half performance their last time out on February 19.
Fairfield struck first in the second half with a Baendu Lowenthal lay-up at the 19:41 mark to put the Lady Stags up 30-25. However, Lady Stags never led by more than five points in the second half as Siena continued to battle finding answers to every Fairfield basket. The teams exchanged leads five times in the second half.
Then with just 38 seconds remaining in the game, the Saints found themselves down two points (55-53) after a pair of Shondaya Burrell free-throws. Burrell finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. On the very next Fairfield possession, the Siena full court press forced a Lady Stags turnover to give the Saints one last opportunity with 32 seconds on the clock.
Coming out of a timeout, the Saints forced a pass to Menty in the post. With the game clock running down, Menty lost control of the ball, dove to the floor, then punched the loose ball out to Manzer who drained the game winning 3-pointer.
The victory marked the first win for the Saints this season after facing a halftime deficit. Siena entered the contest 0-15 when trailing at intermission. With the win, the Saints are riding a three game winning streak, their biggest of the season. Siena returns to action tomorrow morning for a semifinals matchup with Marist (25-5, 17-1). Tip time is slated for 11:30 a.m.