It's the annual homecoming for Siena coach Gina Castelli. In her 21st year with the Saints, Castelli was a star for the Canisius program during her four-year career, ending in 1986.
Canisius and Siena tip-off this afternoon at the Koessler Athletic Center with the Saints the surprise of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. At 5-0, Siena is tied with Marist for the top spot and off to its first 5-0 start since the 2001-02 season. Junior Maja Gerylng leads the MAAC in scoring, averaging 16.8 points in conference games with three 20-plus performances in the last six games.
The Golden Griffins are looking to climb out of the bottom third of the MAAC standings. At 1-4, they are tied with Iona for the second-worst conference conference, ahead of 0-5 Niagara.
Sophomore Ashley Durham is fifth in 3-point field goal percentage in MAAC games (39.1) and she leads the Griffs averaging 11.3 points a game.
Check back for updates throughout the game.
Final: Canisius holds on to score the upset, a 60-48 win over Siena.
3 p.m.: Tip-off!
14:12 left: Siena calls timeout for the first official one of the half. And the Saints need it. They look tired on both ends of the floor as Canisius has expanded its lead to 38-23.
13:48 left: Media time out. (I need it to catch up!) For the record, Siena went 15:46 without a field goal.
9:25 left: It's a crazy day at the KAC. Canisius holds on to the lead, but it's shrunk to 44-36, thanks in large part to a 6-0 Siena run. During that run Cristina Centeno had six points, including a steal and a traditional 3-point play. Lily Grenci will be at the line for Siena on the other side of the timeout to attempt to complete another 3-point play.
6:51 left: Canisius holds a 46-37 leads. The offense hasn't been as easy now that game has returned to a single-digit affair. The Griffs need to make a few more buckets and hold on to the ball to keep its lead.
2:51 left: Back-to-back 3-pointers from Ashley Durham and Steph MacDonald help the Griffs move back to a double-digit lead, 54-44. The Saints won't go away, but the clock is not their friend at the moment. Canisius needs to be careful, however, as Siena is in the bonus and can use that to its advantage.
Canisius leads, 30-19.
Siena's last field goal was at 11:30 of the first half -- a 3-pointer by Gerlyng. The Saints shot just 26.1 percent (6 for 23).
The Griffs distributed the ball well (nine assists on 12 baskets) and scored 18 points off 11 Siena turnovers. Canisius will need to keep up the defensive pressure to hold on in the second half. The Saints need a shooter to step up and take shots -- they were called for two shot-clock violations in the first half.
2:04 p.m. Tip-off! Game on.
15:06 left: Siena leads, 10-8. Gerlyng had back-to-back 3-pointers and the Saints have a smooth, fluid motion individually and collectively, but the Griffs are gritty and battling to keep pace. Perhaps a bit too gritty as Micayla Drysdale was called for an offensive foul on a fastbreak layup just before the timeout.
10:27 left: Siena leads, 17-11. It's not just that Gerlyng has a beautiful release on her 3-point shot but the Saints know how to work the offense to get her open looks. She already has 12 points -- all on 3s. The Griffs are getting opportunities but are unable to finish. They seem a bit harried to stay in the game when a bit of patience might make a difference.
7:54 left: Griffs use a short run to cut Siena's lead to 17-15. Canisius is playing some good defense, creating turnovers, but not taking full advantage down on the offensive end.
4:22 left: Siena calls a 30-second time out as Canisius is on a 14-0 run and leads 25-17. Good defense by the Griffs, bad shots by the Saints and timely scoring in bunches for the Griffs helped create the spurt.
3:50 left: Griffs lead, 25-17, though Siena will be shooting a pair of free throws at the other side of the break. An impressive effort by Canisius so far. The Griffs seem to have rattled Siena a bit in this stretch.
--- Amy Moritz