The Saints won their MAAC Tournament opener for the fifth straight year
March 6, 2014
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SPRINGFIELD, MASS.- The Saints found the perfect time to play their best basketball of the year. Siena shot a season-high 46.7% from the field, led by double figures for the final 31 minutes and by as many as 25 points as the 10th seeded Saints posted the program's 600th all-time victory with a thorough 87-66 triumph over No. 7 seed Manhattan in the First Round of the MAAC Championships at the MassMutual Center.
"I'm just really, really proud of the resolve and toughness that our team showed today," said head coach Ali Jaques. "It hasn't been an easy season for us but for us to be able to come together and perform like that and play for each other was huge. All the credit goes to the players and their belief in each other and the belief in what we've been trying to do all year."
Siena (9-21) advances to the quarterfinals for a fifth straight year where they will play No. 2 seed and MAAC Co-Regular Season Champion Marist Friday at 7 p.m. The eight-time defending MAAC Champions, Marist has won the past 21 meetings with the Saints.
But if Siena plays anywhere close to how they did Thursday afternoon, they will give the Red Foxes all they can handle.
In fact, Siena couldn't have played much better. The 87 points scored tied for the program's most in the last 323 games, dating back to a 91-56 MAAC Semifinals victory over Niagara on Mar. 8, 2003. The Saints also tied season-highs dishing out 18 assists and sinking 12 three-pointers which was a MAAC Tournament program record.
Siena controlled tempo from start to finish and led by as many as 22 points in the opening stanza. The Saints led by 17 points at the break and Siena's 47 first half points scored were the most in a half this season.
Four Saints scored in double figures led by juniors Tehresa Coles and Ida Krogh who tallied 16 points apiece. Classmate Kelsey Boothgot the start and tied a Siena MAAC Tournament record with a career-high five threes in adding 15 points and seven rebounds.
Coming off the bench, senior guard Kanika Cummingscontributed 14 points shooting 4-6 from three for the Saints who also out-rebounded Manhattan (9-21) 40-29 and scored 25 points off 15 Jaspers' turnovers.
Nicole Isaacs scored a career-high 20 points for Manhattan, shooting 6-13 from beyond the arc. Ashley Stec added 13 points and Shayna Ericksen posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Jaspers who saw their season end at the hands of the Saints for a second time in the past three years.
"When you've had the kind of season we've had in conference it's hard to believe," added Jaques about the performance. "I think it's a credit to our seniors. I think it's a credit to our leadership. They stayed with it and they stayed for each other and we're here to live another day and that's all that matters."