Dec. 5, 2004
The Siena women's basketball team's second-half rally came up short as Iona College held on to win 79-65 in front of an ecstatic crowd at the Alumni Recreation Center Sunday afternoon. The victory is the first for the Gaels on the season.
Setting the tone in the first half, co-captain Michelle Blot hit a jumper from the right wing to put the Saints up 2-0. Both teams exchanged baskets, until freshman Liga Alpe-Luka grinded a down low lay-up at the 11:55 mark to put the Saints up by six in what would be their largest lead of the game.
Down 40-36 at the half, Siena warmed up strong in the second stanza, pushing to get with in four at the 15:42 mark, holding the Gaels to just two field goals in the first six minutes of the second half, as the Saints continued to make free throws, the Gaels answered with three's. The Saints pulled to within nine points, at 68-61, on a lay-up by Laura Menty with 3:15 to play. Iona answered with a 7-0 run to once again lead by nine.
"Today was solid because we gave a great effort and did not come out with a win," said Siena head coach Gina Castelli. "Hats off to Iona because they played hard for 40 minutes and did not give us a break."
Blot led the Saints with season-highs in points (17) and rebounds (seven). She also had two blocks and two assists. Freshman Laura Menty finished with 15 points and had two rebounds and two assists. Junior Whitney Cave grabbed team highs with eight rebounds and snatched three steals.
"I think one positive from today, is that we didn't quit and that has been a trademark of this team", said Castelli. "It was hard to get into the flow of the game because of the fouls and the free throw shooting, you have to play through it and adjust. At times I thought we did that, but at times we did not. We have to take care of the basketball period and if we can do that we will be a great team."
Siena would whittle the lead back down to nine points on two more occasions but could not get any closer due to Iona three point shooting. The Saints held a 39-33 rebounding advantage and the Gaels press forced 17 turnovers. The Saints shot 36.2 percent (9-35) in the second half scoring 29 points in the period. Iona shot 45.6 percent (10-23) from the floor in the second half and 5-5 (100 percent) from the foul line.
Meg Abele led all players with 25 points.
The Saints fall to 3-4, 1-1 in the MAAC. Iona improves to 1-5, 1-1 in the conference. The Saints will have a little bit of time off before the Crusaders from Holy Cross visit the Capital Region on Thursday, Dec. 9 at 7:00 p.m.