Thursday, March 4, 2010

Siena, Canisius Women Win Openers

And, so, the games of the 29th annual MAAC post-season tournament have begun.

They started with two women's first-round games Thursday afternoon at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.

Siena beat Rider, 45-25; and Canisius knocked off Saint Peter's, 65-57.

Both contests included some noteworthy happenings.

In the opener, Rider played without 6-foot-2 freshman center Caitlin Bopp, the league's second-best rebounder (9.6 per game). Without her, the Broncs struggled mightily on the offensive end against a Siena team that has stressed defense (its 56.5 points allowed per game is second-best in MAAC play).

Rider shot just 8-for-55 from the field (14.5 percent). The result being that its 25 points were the fewest every scored in a MAAC tournament game, men or women. And, the combined score of the two teams, 70 total points, was the fewest ever by two teams in a game.

Siena had struggles of its own in the first half, making just 7-of-31 (22.6 percent) from the field, but was better in the second half, behind second-team all-MAAC player 6-1 forward Serena Moore (15 points, 10 rebounds). Senior forward Allie Lindemann added 13 points.

No Rider player scored more than five points in the contest.

Siena advances to meet second-seeded Iona in today's 9:30 a.m. semifinal-round "eye-opener."

Large quantities of coffee are advised.

Thursday's other first-round contest was a battle of which team would do fewer wrong things.

Saint Peter's committed 25 turnovers in the game, including 10 in the final 8:30 of play.

Canisius, meanwhile, countered by a failure to put the game away from the foul line. At one point, the Golden Griffins made just 4-of-10 from the stripe down the stretch before eventually nailing down the victory when it made its final six free throws.

"They kept giving it to us, and we kept giving it back," said Canisius coach Terry Zeh, afterwards.

Canisius got a big boost from 6-foot-0 senior forward Ellie Radke, who finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, one point and one rebound below her personal career highs.

Guard Brittane Russell added 12 points, three assists and three steals for the Griffs, who advance to meet top-seeded Marist today at 1:30 p.m.

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