Few teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference look forward to their annual Western New York trip.
This year, it was a nightmare for Siena.
The Saints lost on a dramatic, half-court buzzer beater at Canisius on Friday afternoon.
Sunday afternoon, they surrendered a 10-point second half lead as Niagara earned a 70-62 overtime win at the Gallagher Center.
Siena started the game on a 13-0 run before Niagara went on an 11-0 run of its own to get back in the game.
Then in the second half, the Saints again went up double-digits, 43-33, with 12:52 left in the game. The Purple Eagles used a quick 5-0 rally on a three-pointer from Meghan McGuinness and a jumper from Lauren Gatto to again seize momentum.
With Siena leading, 60-59, McGuinness got a steal giving Niagara the ball with 35 seconds left. With nine seconds left, Clara Sole Anglada fouled Kayla Stroman, who made one of two free throws to send the game to overtime.
In the extra period, Niagara’s defense held Siena (4-9, 0-2 MAAC) without a field goal while the Purple Eagles went 3 for 5 from the field and knocked down four free throws.
“Obviously we were upset we started the way we did so we’re going to have to do a better job than that,” Niagara coach Kendra Faustin said. “I’m really proud of how we responded down the stretch and executed. We had players step up and do things that they haven’t done all year and it really worked for us.”
Among those players was Shy Britton, who scored a career-high 20 points, six in overtime.
“This is what Shy is capable of doing night in and night out,” Faustin said. “These are the things we’re asking her to do, and she’s just a warrior.”
Three other Purple Eagles reached double figures. McGuinness finished with 18, Val McQuad added 12 and Gatto 10.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Purple Eagles, who evened their MAAC record (1-1) and improved to 6-7 overall.
Meanwhile in the Koessler Center, Canisius dropped a 68-54 decision to Iona (7-6, 2-0 MAAC).
The Golden Griffins jumped to a 5-1 lead but after the Gaels went in front, 11-9, they never trailed.
Ashley Durham led Canisius (4-9, 1-1 MAAC) with 21 points. She hit 6 of 13 from the field, 3 of 6 from three-point range and made all six of her free throw attempts. It was the bright spot on offense as the Griffs shot just 25 percent (16 of 64) from the field.
Iona shot 44.9 percent, including 10 of 21 on three-pointers. Joy Adams led Iona with 18 points. Damika Martinez, the Gaels’ usual top scorer, was held to seven points but had a game-high 11 rebounds.
Canisius and Niagara play next on the road on Thursday with the Griffs at Rider and the Purple Eagles at Saint Peter’s.