Sunday, for the first time in two months, the Canisius women’s basketball team followed one win with another. And what a big one it was.
The Golden Griffins upset perennial Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference power Marist, 71-69, Sunday afternoon before 665 in the Koessler Athletic Center. It was the first time the Griffs defeated the Red Foxes at Koessler since Feb. 8, 2004, ending an 11-game losing streak in that building.
Also it was only the third time Canisius has defeated Marist since a 60-59 victory in the championship game of the MAAC Tournament at First Niagara Center. That was in Terry Zeh’s first season as head coach of the Griffs. Zeh has a 5-21 record against Marist as Canisius coach.
Marist has dominated the MAAC since the Canisius title win on March 6, 2005, winning or tying for the MAAC regular season championship 11 of the last 12 years. The Red Foxes had a string of nine MAAC Tournament championships ended by Quinnipiac last season. Marist was the runner-up. Sunday’s loss prevented Brian Giorgis’ team (13-13, 12-4) from tying for first place in the MAAC with Iona (13-3).
The Griffs had to overcome a Marist-record 38-point performance by senior guard Sydney Coffey.
High scorer for Canisius was freshman Maria Welch with 14 points, including a pair of free throws for a 68-64 lead with 22 seconds left.
Sarah Colley and Lauren D’Hont had 12 points each for the Griffs while Saliah Serrette had 10.
Canisius went ahead for good, 66-64, on a layup by Margret Halfdanardottir with 1:05 to play off a pass from D’Hont, who made three of her four free throws in the final 14 seconds to ice it.
Canisius led twice by 10 points in the first half, but a 17-5 run put Marist in front, 23-21. Marist led, 43-35 at the half. It was tied at 47-all entering the fourth quarter.
Coffey had 23 of her points in the first half for Marist.
Next for Canisius will be home games Friday night against Manhattan and Sunday afternoon against Monmouth.
Despite leading for three quarters, Niagara’s women (6-19, 4-12 MAAC) lost to Rider, 76-72, at Gallagher Center in Lewiston. Kaylee Stroemple led the Purple Eagles with 20 points, tying her career high. Tiffany Corselli had 14 points and Sam Lapszynski 13 for Niagara.
Niagara took a 53-46 lead into the fourth quarter. Rider (6-19, 3-13 MAAC) took its first lead of the game, 58-57, in the fourth.
The Canisius and Niagara men each lost MAAC games in New Jersey.
Antwan Portley and Trevis Wyche combined for 10 points in the final 63 seconds for Saint Peters and the Peacocks defeated Canisius, 61-57, at the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City.
A three by Kassius Robertson with 2:05 to go gave Canisius its last lead, 52-51, Portley made a three with 1:03 left to put the Peacocks in front, and Wyche followed with a three on the next Saint Peter’s possession, making it 57-52. Malcolm McMillan hit a three for Canisius with 15.6 seconds to go, but the Peacocks sealed it on free throws by Portley and Wyche, who each finished with 17 points.
Phil Valenti and Jermaine Crumpton paced the Griffs with 11 points. Kevin Bleeker had 10 points and 10 rebounds, but Canisius was outrebounded, 42-30.
The Griffs come home for three games in a row at the Koessler Center starting with Thursday night against Fairfield before a Saturday afternoon date with Marist.
Niagara’s men (6-21, 4-12) lost to Rider, 77-59, in Lawrenceville, N.J., in a game it trailed, 41-25, at the half. The host Broncs led by as many as 26 with 6:26 left in the game. It was the fifth straight loss for the Purple Eagles.
Emile Blackman led the Purple Eagles with 21 points. Dominic Robb had 10. Niagara shot only 36.2 (21 of 58) for the game and was just 5-14 from three-point range. Rider (11-16,7-9 MAAC) made 24 of 49 shots (49.0 percent) and 9 of 22 threes (40.9).
Shawn Valentine – who else? – celebrated his day with 17 points off the bench to lead Rider. The Broncs had four other scorers in double figures including Kahlil Thomas who had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Niagara has home games this week against Marist on Thursday night and Fairfield on Saturday afternoon.