VESTAL, NY (NEWS10) – It has already been widely covered that Siena Women’s Basketball was picked to finish second and contend for a conference title in the 2023 MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. After months of speculation, the Saints (1-0) finally got the chance to prove why they were so highly regarded to start the season.
Holding as large as a 28-point lead, the Green and Gold took care of business to begin the 2023-24 season, taking a 73-64 victory over Binghamton (1-1) on the Dr. Bai Lee Court in Vestal, New York.
Using only seven players on the evening, the Saints cruised to their second straight 1-0 start under head coach Jim Jabir and recorded their first victory in a road opener in nine years, while completing the program’s first consecutive 1-0 starts to a season in 20 years.
Both teams opened the contest trading buckets, but the home program took the upper hand in the better part of the opening quarter, leading by as many as six points at 17-11 with 1:06 remaining in the quarter.
The two-score lead is as far up at the Bearcats would get for the remainder of the evening, with Siena hastily embarking on a monster 16-0 run over the next three minutes, fueled by a buzzer-beating three from senior Ahniysha Jackson to close out the opening period.
Reigning MAAC Rookie of the Year Elisa Mevius began to pick up where she left off from last season, while freshman Alden Yergey knocked down a three-point shot with 8:31 remaining in the first half in the beginnings of 31 impactful bench minutes.
The Saints ended the run with a ten-point lead, and went to the locker room at the half up by 14 points, 43-29, thanks to 16 first half points from Mevius.
The third quarter saw the visitors outscore Binghamton, 21-12 and score the first nine points of the period, with junior Anajah Brown owning the first three buckets of the second half. The lead would eventually grow to 28 (69-41) with 7:38 remaining in the game.
Working off the depth of 12 different players, Binghamton mounted a furious late rally to leave the score unindicative of Siena’s dominance during the middle two quarters of play, ultimately out-scoring the Saints, 23-9, during the final ten minutes. Much of the burst came from freshman Kaylee Krysztof, who knocked down five late threes for a team-leading 15 points in just eight minutes of play.
The comeback proved to be too little too late, however, with the Bearcats shooting just 30.9 percent on the night and Siena finishing the evening at 44.9 percent. The Saints held a slight 44-43 rebounding edge and recorded all 13 fast break points on the night while holding a massive 46-16 advantage in paint points.
Mevius led all scorers with 21 points in her fourth career 20-point scoring output, while Brown tallied a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Jackson also finished in double-figures with 12 points, while Yergey put forth 11 points in her debut in Green and Gold.
Siena’s season-opening road trip will next take them to Hanover, New Hampshire, where they will battle Ivy League for Dartmouth on Sunday, November 12 at 1 PM inside Leede Arena for a chance to start the year 2-0 for the first time since the 2014-15 season.