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The battle between the Jesuits and the Vincentians continues Thursday night when Canisius travels to Niagara for a women's basketball clash.

But it's anybody's guess whether the Griffs' best player will be in the starting lineup.

Junior forward Shauna Geronzin, one of the top scorers in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference during the last two years, has spent most of the second half of the season out of the starting lineup. The trend started in the Griffs' first game against Niagara, a 91-71 Canisius victory on Jan. 17. During the next eight games, she started just once -- against Loyola -- and was serving as sixth man until this weekend's game, when injuries forced her back into her starting role. Geronzin's 21 points led the Griffs Sunday in a 91-74 loss at St. Peter's.

In all, she has started 16 games and has come off the bench for eight.

Canisius coach Mike Decillis says Geronzin plays better if she picks up the flow of the game as a spectator for awhile.

Still, it's a curious move, especially for a team struggling to find wins. Canisius is 7-17 overall and 4-12 in the MAAC; most coaches would want their best scorer on the floor for all 40 minutes.

But Geronzin doesn't seem bothered much by her sixth-man role.

"I mean, everyone who's playing basketball wants to start," she said. "I've started my whole life except for my freshman year here. I'm used to starting, but I don't think it makes a difference.

"Mike (Decillis) thinks I play better off the bench. If that's what's best for the team . . ."

Actually, it doesn't seem to be making much of a difference. Geronzin's scoring average is 17.6 as a starter, 18.5 as a non-starter. Her rebounding average is also slightly higher -- 7.6 as a starter, 8.1 off the bench -- and she's still playing 28 minutes a game.

It's not making a difference in results, either. This year, when Geronzin starts, the Griffs are 4-12. When she hasn't started, they're 3-5.

That's not necessarily enough of a difference to warrant keeping your best player on the bench.

Time and a place

The Dunn Tire College Hockey Challenge, played Tuesday night, has for the past three years pitted Canisius against Niagara at the Amherst Pepsi Center. It's a concept that may be due for an overhaul.

The first problem is the timing. It stinks. For Canisius, it comes sandwiched between four crucial games in the MAAC, which will determine if the Ice Griffs host a quarterfinal playoff game. And this year, the MAAC has an automatic NCAA bid on the line. It's not much better for Niagara, which is gearing up for its final two weekends of CHA play heading into its tournament.

If the purpose of the game is to incite a rivalry and help bring an air of excitement to college hockey in Western New York, then the game should be played in November or early December -- when there's still a season to get excited about.

The second problem is the location. Nothing against the Amherst Pepsi Center, but the game has outgrown the rink, which, incidentally, doesn't have goal lights. Alternating home sites is one thought, but putting the game in HSBC Arena is a better one.

A slick look

Think men aren't fashion conscious? Try watching a college basketball game.

The headband look is an on-again, off-again fad for some players (Canisius' Brian Dux), a uniform requirement for others (Buffalo's Jason Robinson).

In Wednesday's Reilly Center game against LaSalle, it was a team thing for St. Bonaventure. All the Bonnies wore black headbands, whether actually around their head or wrapped around their calf.

Senior forward Kevin Houston bought them all for his teammates. Originally, the Bonnies had planned to debut the look during the ESPN2 game at Fordham, but, apparently, they forgot about it. Bona lost that game.

They did, however, win the LaSalle game.

"For some players, they might be permanent. For some, they might not be," said junior guard J.R. Bremer, who wore his band over his cornrows. "We wanted to do a little something different and get a little bit of energy. Personally, I'm going to keep my headband."

Going swimmingly

Just when the Atlantic 10 gets out of the pool, the Mid-American Conference dives in.

The University at Buffalo will host the women's MAC Swimming Championships, starting Thursday and running through Saturday. Preliminaries begin each day at 11 a.m. with finals at 7 p.m.

Ohio is the defending champion and is expected to battle with Eastern Michigan for the team title. Last season, the Bobcats set conference records in all five relay events.

Buffalo, expected to finish in the middle of the pack in team scoring, should get strong performances from Carrie Quinlan (Amherst), who has the third-best time in the 100 butterfly, and Abby Delia, who is ranked third in the 100 backstroke and ninth in the 100 free.

Tickets per session are $6 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for students and children. All-session passes are $14 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for students and children.

Around the campus

UB women's basketball coach Cheryl Dozier recorded her 50th career win when her Bulls beat Akron on Saturday. . . . Kelly Pangburn (West Seneca) earned two first place finishes for Siena at the MAAC Swimming Championships last weekend. The sophomore took first in the 1,650 free (17:21.48) and in the 500 free (5:04.08).

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