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Three's a charm for Canisius Hot shooting helps Griffins defeat UB

It's a statistic that has been a staple of the game notes for several years.

The Canisius women's basketball team has the longest current active streak of consecutive games with a made three-point field goal in the country.

In Saturday's 70-62 win over the University at Buffalo in front of 594 at Alumni Arena, the Golden Griffins showed why the long-range shot can be such a deadly force.

Canisius (3-1) extended that streak to 394 games when freshman Micayla Drysdale hit a three-pointer 4 1/2 minutes into the game.

The Griffs then hit three-pointers on their next three possessions, jumping out to an 18-8 lead just 6 1/2 minutes into the game.

Though the Bulls (3-2) would make a run in the second half, that two-minute series effectively won the game for Canisius.

"It hurt us when they started getting those threes," Buffalo guard Stephanie Bennett said. "It got us down a bit instead of saying, 'OK, let's get a stop and put an end to this.' I think the three-pointers really killed us."

The Griffs hit six of their first seven three-point attempts and finished the first half making 7 of 11. For the game, they notched nine of 17 attempts.

"We knew coming in that they're a great three-point shooting team," Bennett said. "They set screens everywhere for their shooters to get open. If it's not a back screen, it's a staggered screen. If it's not a staggered screen, it's a single screen."

And while the screens help get the shooters open, primarily Amanda Cavo and Drysdale, it also opens up the entire offense for Canisius.

"We've realized over last year and this year that when we run plays off screens it's not just to get me the ball," said Cavo, who had a game-high 16 points and went 5 for 8 from three-point range. "It opens up the floor. If people are running out at me, we can look for other slips and pops off the screen."

"Even with our out-of-bounds play, we set the screen for Cavo and people are running as hard as they can because they don't want her to get the three-point shot," said forward Laura Buetow, who had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

The Bulls made a run in the second half, getting back to defensive principles and converting Canisius turnovers and missed shots.

A three-pointer by Ashley Zuber made it a one-point game (49-48) with 9:14 to play but the Bulls missed some shots. Another three-pointer by Cavo made it a 57-50 game with 6:33 to play, and the Griffs never looked back.

Zuber played a solid game with 14 points and five assists while Bennett led the Bulls with 16 points. Heather Turner scored seven while adding 11 rebounds.

"I felt like in the second half we came out ready to play with the initial game plan," said UB's Cara Pearson, who served as acting head coach for the game. "Offensively, they were helping in on Heather Turner a lot and we started seeing the openings on the weak side and had confidence to take our three-point shots."

Pearson served as the bench coach as UB head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald missed her first game with the Bulls in three seasons. She threw her back out on Friday and was unable to attend the game. The team is hoping she will recover to make the trip to Worcester, Mass., for Tuesday's game at Holy Cross.

Meanwhile, the Griffs travel to No. 23 Notre Dame on Tuesday.


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