The best play in basketball? Put the ball in the basket, and the Canisius women's team picked the perfect opportunity, the preliminary round game of the MAAC tournament, to do that as well as it did in any game during the regular season.
The Golden Griffins shot a season's best 50.8 percent from the field (31-of-61) to take a 79-55 victory over Saint Peter's in the first game of the conference's tournament Thursday at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.
The outcome sends Canisius on to Friday's quarterfinal round where it will meet Iona at 9:30 a.m. Iona won both regular-season games between the teams.
But, the Griffs will be formidable if they can continue to make shots as well as they did against the Peacocks, an effort that included an 11-of-19 performance (57.9 percent) on three pointers.
Senior guard Ashley Durham led the winners, now 12-18 overall, with 15 points, including 4-of-5 shooting frm beyond the bonus stripe. Reserve forward Jen Lennox added 10 points for the Griffs, who got scoring from 12 different players.
Seniors Kristal Edwards and Jessica Holmes had 17 and 10 points apiece, respectively, for Saint Peter's.
"They just did a tremendous job of shooting the ball," said Saint Peter's coach Stephanie DeWolfe, about Canisius. . "Any time you shoot almost 60 percent from three-point range your chances of winning are greatly increased."
Canisius played much of the contest without its usual starting point guard freshman Tiahana Mills, who is recovering from an ankle sprain. She was on the court for nine minutes, but wasn't needed for more as sophomore Brooke Angelos played 22 minutes and matched her career high with seven assists.
"Brooke was great," said Canisius coach Terry Zeh. "She handled their speed, made good decisions and made some terrific passes."
The Griffs should be relatively well-rested for Friday's wake-up call quarterfinal-round contest. Zeh was able to limit his key players' court time with Thursday's lopsided outcome and no Canisius performer was in the game for more than 26 minutes.