Fiasco. That was the one-word analysis Niagara women's coach Bill Agronin used to describe what happened Friday night in the Gallagher Center.
He wasn't kidding. Niagara made 19 of its 30 turnovers in the second half as St. Peter's turned a close game into a laugher and embarrassed NU, 76-42.
St. Peter's had a 30-24 halftime lead and outscored Niagara, 46-18, in the final 20 minutes. The 34-point loss was Niagara's worst MAAC loss since a 38-pointer at Fairfield in 1990. Niagara hit just 17 of 56 from the field in reaching its lowest point total of the season.
"That's as bad as we've played since I've been here, no doubt about it," said Agronin, who's in his seventh year. "We've been beaten worse, but never played that badly.
"(NU men's coach) Joe Mihalich had a great saying early in the year that his team just didn't have 'it.' I don't know what 'it' is, but we've got to find it and do it fast. I just point back to confidence. Right now, we simply don't have enough."
The Purple Eagles (9-15 overall, 6-9 MAAC) have dropped seven of their last nine games. They're sixth in the standings, just a game ahead of Marist in the race to stay out of the play-in games at the MAAC Tournament.
St. Peter's guard Courtney Wicks stole a pass from Kathy Meder and drove for a layup at the buzzer ending the first half. The play foreshadowed what was to come.
St. Peter's had a 32-29 lead before exploding on a turnover-fed 20-0 run in the next nine minutes that ended any suspense. Wicks led St. Peter's with 18 points and eight steals. Center Amy Getman had 15 points for Niagara, the only Purple Eagle in double figures.
St. Peter's (14-9, 9-6), the two-time defending MAAC champion, got a measure of revenge for Niagara's 92-91 overtime win when they met last month in Jersey City.
"The game at their place was every bit as good a game for us as this was bad," Agronin said. "That shows how we can play when we have that confidence."