March 8, 2003
Siena moved one step closer to a championship crown with a 91-56 romp over Niagara University in the semifinals of the MAAC Tournament at Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, N.J. on Saturday afternoon. The Saints improved to 24-6 on the season with the win while the Purple Eagles closed out 2002-03 at 20-9.
Niagara saw their only two leads of the game in the first two minutes of play, connecting on a pair of free throws at the start and sinking a bucket for a 4-2 advantage, following a Saint layup that tied the score at two apiece. After that it was all Green and Gold as the Saints went on a 24-4 run in the next nine minutes for a 26-6 score, taking their biggest lead of the half at 18 points. Niagara made a couple of stabs at a comeback in the first, going on a mini-run of their own at the 9:23 mark and scoring 8 points while holding Siena scoreless, but the Saints quickly held thier ground, taking a 14-point lead into the lockerroom with a 44-30 advantage.
The Saints picked up right where they left of in the second as Nathalie Marchino sank a three-pointer to kick off the half. Siena continued thier assault on the scoreboard throughout the half, scoring 47 points while holding Niagara to 26. When the dust settled from the Saints march to victory, Siena had scored their most points of the season with the 91-56 final score.
Three Saints scored in double figures with Liene Jansone leading the way with 21 points. Gunta Basko and Jolene Johnston also hit the double figure mark scoring 16 points and 14 points, respectively. All three missed a double double by just one rebound as they each pulled down nine boards.
Siena was 50 percent from the floor compared to Niagara's 36.2 percent and pulled in 51 rebounds compared to only 29 for the Purple Eagles.
The Saints, the number two seed, will now battle it out for the MAAC Championship with the number one seed Manhattan Jaspers tomorrow, Sunday, March 9. Tip-off is set for 12 noon.