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Siena College Women’s Basketball Pulls Through Against Monmouth

The Siena Saints and Monmouth Hawks women’s basketball teams squared off on Monday (2/5/18) in a tough conference battle. The two MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) opponents battled for the entirety of the game, but Siena pulled through with a 44-41 victory.  For their first match-up of the season, the game was played in Loudonville, NY, at Siena’s home arena.

There were seven lead changes throughout the game, and for over 3 total minutes, the score was tied. The Saints jumped out to a quick lead in the first quarter, but were met with resistance. The Hawks ended the first on a 12-0 run, to give themselves an 18-10 cushion. The second quarter wasn’t a very exciting one, and by halftime the score was 24-19. At that point Monmouth was still in favor with the help of Rhai Spooner-Knight, who led the team by the end of the game with 15 total points. This is the 15th time of the season so far that the senior has led the Hawks in scoring.

The second half was a different story, though. The Saints came out with passion and fire, and outscored Monmouth 19-5. The Hawks couldn’t buy a bucket, first scoring with just five minutes left in the frame. The team shot 2-9 in the third, compared to Siena’s slightly better clip of 7-17. At the end of the third, Siena had a 38-29 lead – the largest of the entire battle. Heading into the fourth quarter, Monmouth’s Alexa Middleton was determined to keep the Hawks in the game. She led her team with an impressive 11 rebounds along with 10 points on 5-9 shooting. Middleton was alone in this fight, as her teammate Kayla Shaw (who averages 9.7 PPG) was held scoreless in all 37 minutes she saw on the floor.

With just 5:50 left, Monmouth had accomplished a 10-1 run to tie the game at 39. This is where the Saints capitalized, though. The Hawks began to play sloppy and their ball protection was poor. They had 27 turnovers, which is what hurt them the most. Their defense was more than superb, holding Siena to just 28.6% shooting from the field (16-56 FG). They had 4 blocks and 6 steals, but couldn’t keep control of the basketball.

Siena managed to lock down the Hawks in the final five minutes, not giving up any points except for two on foul shots. They put up 5 points in the remainder of the game with the help of Anna Lundquist, who hit a 3PT shot with two minutes left to give the Saints a lead. Their final two points came from Maddie Sim’s layup with just 17 seconds remaining. From here, the Hawks despairingly missed two free throws. They regained possession with one second left, but Kayla Shaw was still cold. She missed a three as time expired.

The Saints are now in third place in the MAAC, with an overall record of 13-11 (8-5 in MAAC play). The 44 points was their fewest all season, and the Hawk’s 41 was the second-least they’ve allowed so far this year. Monmouth University heads off to a three game home series (Marist, Niagara, Manhattan). They’ve fallen to 9th in the conference, out of the playoff picture. Overall, their record is 6-16, and 4-7 in conference games. Siena plays Quinnipiac next, who sits undefeated in the MAAC and is a March Madness contender with a 19-5 record.

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