Playing one of its most complete games of the season, the Canisius women’s basketball team defeated Rider, 75-68, in the Koessler Center Sunday afternoon for its fifth win in the last seven games.
The Golden Griffins improved to 7-10 overall and 4-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. It was a season-high point total for Canisius.
Senior Ashley Durham scored a season-high 25 points, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. Kayla Hoohuli scored 11 points and Allison Braun and Ashley Wilkes each added 10. Jen Lennox tied the Canisius record with six blocks. The Griffs shot 42.6 percent from the floor, 90.5 percent from the free-throw line and held a 44-36 advantage in rebounding.
“We had a lot of pieces come together today, which was great to see, and Ashley gave us a really good effort,” Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. “Down the stretch we got a little tentative, but we made enough plays to never lose the lead.”
Durham had 19 points in the first half as the Griffs built a 38-32 lead. A 9-0 Canisius run to start the second half gave the team its biggest lead of the game, 51-38. Rider closed to 61-60 but was then held without a basket for nearly four minutes as Canisius went up 67-60. The Griffs made all eight of their free throws in the final minute to hold off the Broncs and nail down the 28th victory in 35 games all-time series between the schools.
MyNeshia McKenzie led Rider (7-10, 2-4 MAAC) with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Canisius will face Loyola in Baltimore in a Kids’ Day game at 11 a.m. Thursday
In Lewiston, Niagara (8-9, 3-3 MAC) cut what had been an 18-point deficit to two (45-43), but faded again and suffered a 71-51 loss to Marist at the Gallagher Center. The Red Foxes (11-6, 6-0) are defending conference champions and stand alone in first place.
“I do think we can compete at a high level with any team in our conference,” said Niagara coach Kendra Faustin. “I’m really disappointed we didn’t do that today.”
The Purple Eagles trailed, 43-25, with 14 minutes to play in the game before Meghan McGuinness scored five points on two-consecutive baskets. A layup by Kayla Stroman off of a steal ended the 18-2 run that brought NU back within, 45-43.
Lauren Gatto scored three of her team-high 12 points during the Niagara run. Jess Flamm contributed eight points to the rally.
“I think we ran out of gas because we spent so much time coming back instead of starting the way that we should have,” Faustin said.
Freshman Sylvia Maxwell set career-highs with 11 points and seven rebounds. Stroman tied a career-high with eight assists on the afternoon.
The Purple Eagles will play their next four games on the road starting with a game at Iona at 7 p.m. on Thursday.