It came down to the final seconds Thursday night for the Canisius and Niagara women’s basketball teams.
Canisius, in search of its second Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory, lost on a last-second layup to Fairfield, 72-70, at Alumni Hall.
Meanwhile, Niagara took the lead with 6.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter and went on to post its second conference victory, 63-57, over Iona in New Rochelle.
The Purple Eagles and Gaels were tied heading into the fourth quarter and neither team would be able to take a substantial lead until the final 10 seconds of the game.
Tied at 57, Niagara had the ball. Maggie McIntyre opened the play with a pass to Morgan Baughman to set up the motion set. McIntyre rolled down into the low post and set a screen on Iona’s Paulla Weekes.
As the 5-foot-10 Weekes tried to fight past the 5-foot point guard, she was slowed and reached her hand back to hit McIntyre in the back of the head, causing the Niagara guard to fall to the floor.
A video review would result in a technical foul, two free throws and possession for the Purple Eagles.
Jai Moore stepped to the empty free throw line and knocked both down with ease, to put Niagara up two. The Purple Eagles successfully inbounded the ball to Baughman and she hit both of her foul shots to push the lead up to four, 61-57.
Iona’s last shot ended with a miss by Monica Barefield and a rebound by Niagara’s Emerald Ekpiteta, who was immediately fouled. Ekpiteta made both free throws with under a second remaining.
Jordan Edwards played a season-high 34 minutes for Niagara, adding a season-high 15 points, to lead the team. She made 6 of 10 shots with two 3-pointers. Edwards’ previous career-high was nine points against Marist last March.
While Niagara (4-10, 2-3 MAAC) pulled out its game at crunch time, the final seconds weren’t as friendly for Canisius (2-12, 1-4).
Guard D’Jhai Patterson-Ricks made one of two free throws with 13 seconds left to tie the game at 70-70 but Fairfield's Sam Kramer made a layup with one second left for the winning shot.
— Stags Sports Network (@StagsSportsNet) January 17, 2020
Canisius shot well from long range, making 7 of 13 three-point attempts. Danielle Sanderlin finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, Patterson-Ricks had 16 points, and AJ Timbers added 14.
Tiana Pugh was solid off the bench with six points, six rebounds, and four assists.
The Niagara and Canisius men’s basketball teams will both play this weekend at home. Canisius hosts Siena Friday night at 7 and meets Rider Sunday at 2, both in the Koessler Center.
The Griffins are 1-4 in the MAAC, with their lone win against Saint Peter’s on Sunday.
Niagara hosts Rider Friday at 7 and Siena Sunday at 1 in the Gallagher Center. The Purple Eagles have started conference play 2-2, with wins over Fairfield and Iona and losses to Manhattan and Quinnipiac.