Two games attended in recent days, and two of the best ... and, most-meaningful ... individual match-ups that could occur in our conference. In chronological order ..
THURSDAY, Feb. 13: Siena at Niagara, women's game.
The contest featured a meeting of arguably the MAAC's top two freshmen players, Siena's 6-foot-2 center Meghan Donohue and Niagara's 6-2 counterpart Victoria Rampado
Donohue averages 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in an average of 27.2 minutes of playing time.
Rampado's averages are almost the same, 8.3, 5.3 in just 19.6 minutes per contest.
The only other apparent contender for the league's Rookie of the Year honors for women is Rider's 6-1 Julia Duggan, but her 4.1, 4.5 averages don't match up to Donohue and Rampado.
Manhattan's Kayla Grimme, another 6-2 post player, might have been the likely top rookie had she not suffered a season-ending foot injury. She was averaging 9.9 and 7.1 in the eight games she played before the injury.
If nothing else, that quartet comprises possibly the best group of first-year post players the MAAC women's league has seen in some time.
Donohue's season got off to a fast start, but teams play almost exclusively a collapsing zone to neutralize Donohue in recent weeks.
Rampado, on the other hand, has some superlative outside shooters to ensure she won't be double-teamed when she catches the ball on the block. Plus, she can step out and hit from the perrimeter, too.
She got the better of Thursday's match, scoring 21 points and getting 10 rebounds while Donohue had 15 and 5.
Rampado's performance came just a few days after an 18 and 10 effort against Rider.
FRIDAY: Canisius men at Niagara.
The league's best rivalry also included a confrontation of arguably the league's top two players.
Senior guard Billy Barron entered the game No. 5 nationally in scoring, while junior guard Antoine Mason entered the contest as the No. 1 scorer among all Division I players.
Baron's team not only came out on top in a brutally physical contest, 71-65, but the Canisius standout was the far better performer on this night putting up a game-high 34 points while Mason was held to 17.
It just reinfoced, at least to this blogger, that league coaches made a good choice when, in their presason poll, predicted Baron would win the MAAC's Player of the Year award this season.
He is, by far, the best conference player we've seen this year and should be the runaway winner of the award.