By Peter Neville
After a January in which women’s basketball went 4–5 with back-to-back losses to end the month, the Griffins started out February with a big win, beating Saint Peter’s 56–48 Saturday and sweeping the season series against the Peacocks for the second season in a row, moving them to 7–5 in conference play and 12–9 overall.
A tough first half for the Griffs saw them head into the break trailing 26–25, marking the third consecutive game in which they trailed at halftime. However, Canisius came out for the second half with a vengeance, allowing only 4 points in the third quarter and jumping out to a 40–30 lead entering the final frame — a lead they would not relinquish.
“We weren't doing a good job executing our defensive principles in the first half,” said coach Nusseibeh. “If we get back to our principles on defense, we should be fine, and I think that's something we did in the third quarter, we locked up and took care of the ball.” Sophomore Sisi Eleko stole the show once again, notching her 11th double-double of the season which lands her tied for 21st most in the country and in third place among sophomores.
Coach Nusseibeh spoke on Eleko’s importance to the Griffs this season: “When she [Eleko] chooses to be consistently dominant, and when she chooses to work in the interior like she worked against Saint Peter’s, it helps us win games, it opens things up for the other four players on the floor.” She continued, “I thought against Saint Peter’s, it was a game where whether she got the ball or not it was one of her most consistent games this year
in terms of working the interior.”
The win leaves Canisius fifth place in the MAAC narrowly behind rivals Niagara and at 7–5 in conference play, which marks a four-game improvement from last season, when the team sat 3–9 through 12 games in MAAC play.
“We want to see just a steadiness [from the team]. Basketball is a game of runs — you're going to be up, you're going to be down, us playing through all the ups and downs and remaining solid and steady throughout the course of 40 minutes will help us get the results we want and have us feeling really really good heading into March.”
The Griffs' next matchup takes place on the road this Saturday as they take on Mount Saint Mary’s, who are 4–7 in MAAC play. Canisius won the first matchup of the season between the teams 62–49 as the Griffs look to sweep the season series against the Mountaineers for the first time since they joined the MAAC in 2022.