AMHERST, MASS. - Siena saw a 16-point lead with 10 minutes remaining dwindle down to just two in the closing seconds, but held on for a 57-51 win over UMass at the Mullins Center. Ida Krogh led Siena with a career-high 17 points including the game-clinching free throws in the closing seconds.
Krogh added a career-best four threes and Tehresa Coles contributed 12 points, four steals and a key three-pointer in the final minutes leading Siena (4-6) to the program's first regular season win in the state of Massachusetts in 16 years. The Saints snapped an eight-game regular season losing streak in the Bay State dating back to a 65-64 win at Harvard in November of 1996.
The Saints went on a 12-0 run midway through the first half, opening an early 16-4 advantage over UMass (2-11). The Minutewomen missed 18 of their first 20 shots and committed 12 turnovers during that stretch. As a result, Siena harbored their biggest halftime lead of the season - 14 points - in taking a 27-13 lead into the lockerroom.
The Saints increased their margin to their largest of the game when Ciara Stewart knocked down a short jumper to put Siena up 41-25 with 10:08 remaining. Stewart also finished with a career-best nine points and added three steals.
But UMass would not go away. After shooting just 5-30 in the first half, UMass shot 46.9% (15-32) in scoring 38 points in the final stanza. The Minutewomen responded with a 16-4 run over the next seven minutes to pull within 45-41 with 3:15 remaining.
After Coles hit a huge three to put Siena back up eight, 49-41 with 1:37 remaining, Emily Mital responded with a three of her own to rally UMass back within four with 1:18 left.
The Minutewomen would ultimately get within a bucket at 51-49 on a driving layup by Dee Montgomery with 18 seconds remaining, but the Saints sunk their final six free throws to seal the deal.
Kanika Cummings added a season-high eight points off the bench for the Saints which won despite shooting just 27.9% (17-61) from the field. Siena's leading scorer Lily Grenci was limited to just four points on 1-12 shooting, but pulled down a season-high 14 rebounds.
Jasmine Watson led UMass with 15 points and four blocks, while Mital added 14 points and Rashida Tambilla contributed 11 points, 12 rebounds and four assists for the Minutewomen which have now lost six in a row.
Siena closes out non-conference play and the 2012 calendar year Sunday at defending Northeast Conference Champion Sacred Heart. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m. from Fairfield, Conn.