Dec. 29, 2013
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Kanika Cummings poured in a career-high 31 points, but Iona's potent offensive attack proved to be too much as the Gaels held off Siena 86-80 in the MAAC opener for both programs.
Iona (8-2, 1-0) shot 64% (16-25) from the field in the second half and 6-10 from three which proved to be just enough to overcome an equally impressive offensive effort from the Saints (5-5, 0-1).
Cummings kept Siena in it throughout, connecting on 10-18 from the field and added four threes. Freshman forward Meghan Donohue contributed her first collegiate double-double with 12 points and 14 hard-earned rebounds.
Trailing by eight points early, Siena responded with the next eight points and a back-and-forth first half ended with a 36-all tie at the break. Cummings netted 17 of her points in the first half, hitting seven of her eight shots.
Siena, which totaled just 49 points in each of its last two games, made seven of its first nine shots to open the second half. Ciara Stewart's three-point play capped the run, giving the Saints their biggest lead of the game 53-48 at the 14:32 mark.
But reigning MAAC Player of the Year Damika Martinez heated up late. The nation's third leading scorer converted a three-point play that put Iona back on top for good, 59-57 at the 9:46 mark. Martinez's basket began a stretch in which the Gaels hit eight of 10 shots to build a 10-point lead and put the game all but out of reach with 4:32 remaining.
Martinez scored 11 of her 22 points during the run including a pair of back-breaking threes in leading red-hot Iona to its seventh straight win. Reigning MAAC Rookie of the Year Joy Adams added a double-double of her own with 22 points and 11 rebounds and Aleesha Powell chipped in 18 points and seven assists for Iona which shot 52.9% for the game and 11-22 from three.
Tehresa Coles added 10 points for Siena which was opening the program's 25th MAAC season and playing in its 400th all-time MAAC regular season game.
The Saints are back in action New Year's Eve when they host Rider. The MAAC home-opening matinee is set for a 2 p.m. tip Tuesday at the ARC.