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Canisius women's basketball continues 'work in progress' season

Scott Hemer knew this season wasn’t going to be easy for the Canisius College women’s basketball team. But the second-year coach continues to give the Golden Griffins a message.

“We’ve spent some time talking about how if you spread individual lights around a room, you can’t see much,” Hemer said. “But when you bring those lights together, you see it all. If our team stuck to that and believed it was possible, they’d see the results.”

The bright spots have been few for the Griffs, who have won only three games. That third win, though, came Saturday and snapped a nine-game losing streak.

Danielle Sanderlin scored 20 points and D’Jhai Patterson-Ricks scored 19 in a 70-63 win against Fairfield at the Koessler Athletic Center, on a day when the Canisius athletic department honored 16 former players on its All-Sesquicentennial women’s basketball team.

The win also came two days after the Griffs (3-18, 2-10 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) lost to Iona, 60-57, in a game that went down to the final 35 seconds. A.J. Timbers’ shot with 13 seconds left cut Iona’s lead to 58-57, but the Griffs were unable to score on their final two possessions.

“They haven’t given up on themselves or each other,” Hemer said. “Would it make sense for them to lose big and bounce back? But lose by a few and feel lousy about yourself? No. That’s progress for you to be able to get yourself into a one- or two-possession game.”

The Griffs are last in the MAAC and play at first-place Marist at 7 p.m. Thursday in Poughkeepsie and have eight regular season games remaining. All 11 teams in the MAAC qualify for the postseason tournament, which begins March 10 in Atlantic City, N.J.

“I don’t think this group is worried about seeds or the conference tournament,” Hemer said. “They knew, from Day One, we had a long way to go. They never wavered from the fact that this was going to be a work in progress. They’ve stuck with that all year. I don’t expect their mindset to change now. There are things we can control and things we can improve on.”

Fair on Staley watch list

Dyaisha Fair, a freshman guard on the University at Buffalo women’s basketball team, has been named to the Dawn Staley Award midseason watch list. Fair is the second player from UB in as many years to be on the watch list for the award, which is given annually to the top guard in Division I women’s college basketball.

Former UB guard Cierra Dillard was a finalist for the Dawn Staley Award in 2019.

Four finalists will be announced in mid-March and the winner will be announced the first weekend of April, during the Final Four.

Prior to UB’s game Wednesday at Western Michigan, Fair was tied for fourth in the nation in scoring, averaging 22.4 points per game.

Former Bona guard Jaylen Adams has been selected to the roster for the U.S. team that will face Puerto Rico on Feb. 20 and 23 in the FIBA AmeriCup qualifying tournament.

Adams is averaging 22 points, 5.3 rebounds and 56. assists in 29 games for the Wisconsin Herd in the NBA G League.

Qualifying continues with games in November, and the top 12 teams advance to the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup tournament, formerly known as the FIBA Americas Championship.

Syracuse to honor Satalin

The Syracuse men’s basketball program will honor Jim Satalin, a former St. Bonaventure men’s basketball player and coach and current Syracuse Sports Network radio broadcaster, at the 49th annual Hardwood Banquet, scheduled for March 8 at the OnCenter in Syracuse.

Satalin and broadcasting teammate Matt Park will receive the Vic Hanson Medal of Excellence during the banquet. Satalin is in his seventh season as a color commentator for the Orange.

Satalin helped the Bonnies to the 1968 NCAA Tournament as a player, and coached Bona to the 1977 NIT championship and the 1978 NCAA Tournament. Satalin also coached at Duquesne.

Bona block party

Bona forward/center Osun Osunniyi has moved into fifth in career blocked shots in school history. Osunniyi, a sophomore, blocked two shots in an 83-80 win Saturday at Duquesne, then blocked three shots Tuesday in a 74-56 win at Saint Joseph’s.

Osunniyi has 142 blocked shots in two seasons at Bona, including 50 in 18 games this season.

Caswell Cyrus, who played at Bona from 1996 to 2000, holds the program record with 289 blocked shots.

Must-see game of the week

Davidson at St. Bonaventure men’s basketball, 7 p.m. Friday, Reilly Center, Allegany. The Bonnies (17-8, 9-3 Atlantic 10 Conference) have won five in a row and are in pursuit of one of the Atlantic 10’s four double-byes in the conference tournament.

A win against Duquesne helped Bona’s cause, and the win at Saint Joseph’s moved the Bonnies into sole possession of third place in the Atlantic 10 going into Wednesday's games.

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