Both the Canisius and Niagara women’s basketball teams turned in improved performances on the road Tuesday afternoon, but lost to tough Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opponents.
The Griffs (4-8, 0-3 MAAC) made a late run after trailing by as many as 22 points in the second half before falling to Marist, 57-49, at the McCann Center in Poughkeepsie. It was Marist’s 33rd straight victory and 67th in the last 68 games against MAAC opposition.
Niagara (2-9, 0-2 MAAC) whittled a double-digit deficit to three in the final minute before losing at Fairfield, 81-77. The Stags are 7-4, 2-0 in conference play.
Canisius trailed 35-19 at halftime after shooting only 23 percent in the first 10 minutes, but Marist shot only 20 percent (6 of 30) in the second half. A late 13-0 run got Canisius as close as seven points with 2:51 left.
Senior Jamie Ruttle led Canisius with 11 points while sophomore Crystal Porter had 13 rebounds. Marist had three in double figures, led by 14 points by sophomore Madeline Blais. Seniors Emma O’Connor and Leanne Ockenden had 12 each for the Foxes, who have won their last 11 games against Canisius.
“We didn’t panic in the second half, even with the big deficit,” said Canisius coach Terry Zeh. “We stayed true to our plan, and the shots finally started falling, along with getting stops defensively, to give us a chance in the last couple of minutes.”
Chanel Johnson led the Niagara scoring for the second game in a row with 19 points in the loss at Fairfield. Val McQuade had 17 and 10 rebounds while Meghan McGuinness had 15 points to pass the 600 career mark. Taylor McKay had a career-high 11 points.
The Purple Eagles twice took the lead in the first half and trailed, 32-31, at the break. Niagara fought back to tie at 48-all, erasing what had been a 47-38 deficit. Fairfield built the lead to 10 again with three minutes left and held on.
“Tonight we did a great job on the offensive end and I thought we did a clearly much better job on the boards,” Niagara coach Kendra Faustin said. “We are just really struggling to get stops. Fairfield is a really talented team and their post play really hurt us in the second half.”
Canisius will face Iona at home at 7 p.m. on Friday while Niagara will have a noon game on Friday against Saint Peter’s.
In Big 4 women’s games today, the University at Buffalo (6-4) will play at home for the first time since Dec. 4 when it faces Roberts Wesleyan at 2 p.m. (Radio 1270) in Alumni Arena. It’s the last nonconference game for the Bulls before Saturday afternoon’s Mid-American Conference opener at Bowling Green.
Roberts, which is transitioning from the NAIA to NCAA Division II level, has two Western New York players on its roster — junior Christina Healy (Sacred Heart) and Ashley Smith (Wilson). Roberts lost its last four to drop to 5-5 for the season after winning the Wendy’s Classic in Rochester.
St. Bonaventure (11-4) will try for its fourth win in a row when it opens Atlantic 10 Conference play against Duquesne (8-5) in Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. tonight. The Dukes’ record includes a 78-55 home win over UB. Katie Healy leads the Bonnies in scoring (14.4) and rebounding (8-3) and has three double-doubles this season.