NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — For the final 7:15 of the game Monday afternoon, the Siena Saints held the Iona Gaels scoreless while scoring 14 unanswered points en route to a 56-51 victory. The win marks the first of the season, and head coach Jim Jabir’s first win at the helm of the Saints since March 10, 1990.
Tying a season-high in points was senior Rayshel Brown, who scored six of her 19 points in the fourth quarter. Brown also added a new career-high in steals with six. Freshman Imani Harris dished out a new career-high five assists, all coming in the first half. Sophomore Margo Peterson added 12 points, with junior Anja Knoflach scoring 10 as the three Saints in double-figures. Fifth-year Selena Philoxy continued her strong efforts on the boards with 10 rebounds, making it back-to-back games with double-figure rebounds.
The Gaels saw a 14-point effort from Olivia Vazaldenos, who also added five rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Juana Camilion scored 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting on the afternoon, adding six rebounds. Ketsia Athias would grab seven rebounds to lead the Gaels in that department.
The first quarter would be a back-and-forth battle with Siena jumping out to a 16-14 lead after the first 10 minutes. A key three-pointer from Peterson with 46 seconds to play in the frame gave Siena a four point lead before Camilion scored a bucket for Iona before the end of the quarter.
With the score from Camilion, Iona began a run to a seven-point lead to the 6:06 mark in the second quarter, as they took a 25-18 advantage. However, a swift 10-0 run over that 6:06 brought Siena to a 28-25 lead after Peterson scored a layup with nine seconds remaining in the half. A foul and a pair of made free throws with under a second to play in the half would give Siena the 28-27 advantage heading into the half.
Iona would work their way to an eight-point lead in the third quarter, with a three-pointer from Vezaldenos to create the largest cushion of the day up to that point for the Gaels with 4:30 to play in the quarter. Heading into the fourth, Siena would work the Iona lead down to just four, 44-40.
The lead for the Gaels would work back out to nine, their largest of the day at any point with 7:15 to play as they held at 51-42. Siena would turn the defense and scoring on from there, with the Green and Gold chipping away point by point throughout the quarter. A jumper from Brown with 3:02 to play brought the Saints back within two, with graduate student DeAnna Winston knotting things at 51-all with a jumper in the paint with 1:39 to play.
Winston would ride the wave of success on the ensuing possession, grabbing a steal on the defensive end, finding Philoxy, who then found Knoflach for a go-ahead three pointer from the left corner with 1:14 to play. The Saints continued to hold strong on defense as Iona couldn’t put the ball in the bucket. With a good look at the basket for a game-tying three pointer with six seconds to play, the Gaels couldn’t convert as Peterson came down with the rebound before getting fouled. Peterson would put the icing on the victory by hitting both free throws at the other end as the Saints held on.
Siena would hold their opponent to just seven points in the fourth quarter for the second consecutive game, while outscoring the Gaels in the paint 28-24. Both teams combined for 49 turnovers, with Siena scoring 23 points off of Iona miscues. Siena also saw 16 points scored from non-starters, with Knoflach’s 10 a majority of the number.
The Saints return to action on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. when the Green and Gold come back to the UHY Center to take on the Manhattan Jaspers.