ALBANY, N.Y. - New coach, new gold uniforms and a whole new ballgame. Siena overcame an early eight point deficit with a decisive 24-4 run and cruised to an impressive 76-56 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson Friday night at the Times Union Center. Lily Grenci posted a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, giving Ali Jaques the victory in her head coaching debut.
Clara Sole Anglada added 14 points and eight rebounds and Kate Zarotney bolstered Siena's (1-0) second unit with 10 points as the Saints snapped an eight-game losing streak in season openers. The Saints had last won a season opener on Nov. 21, 2003, defeating crosstown UAlbany.
Fairleigh Dickinson (0-1) raced out to an early 13-5 lead at the 14:51 mark. But the Saints shook off the cobwebs and dominated play the rest of the way.
Tehresa Coles capped the decisive run with back-to-back threes giving the Saints a 29-17 lead. The Knights would get no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Coles added a career-high eight rebounds and tied a career best with six assists. Kelsey Booth came off the bench to tie a career-high with nine points as Siena's' second unit outscored its counterparts 28-10.
Siena was lethal from beyond the arc, sinking 9-18 from three while Fairleigh Dickinson shot just 3-24 from three-point range. The Saints also dominated on the glass pulling down 51 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive end.
Danielle Pankey led the Knights with 15 points, while Erika Livermore added 14 points and 14 rebounds for Fairleigh Dickinson which went without a field goal for the game's final 7:48.
During the game it was revealed during the MAAC Preseason Awards Show that the Saints had been picked seventh in the Coaches' Poll. But if Friday night's game is any indication of what this season may hold in store, Siena could easily prove them wrong.
The Saints return to the court when they travel to Big East foe Pittsburgh for a Tuesday afternoon matinee at 1 p.m.