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Sharpshooting Griffs snap losing streak in win over Siena

By: Adam Gorski

Re-writing the program history books, putting multiple losing streaks to bed and doing so all on your home floor — not too shabby of a Saturday for the Canisius women’s basketball team.

The Griffs shot the lights out, knocking down a program record 15 3-pointers en route to an 81–78 win over Siena at the Koessler Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon, snapping a 13-game losing streak.

The victory marked Canisius’s first MAAC win since Feb. 24, 2020 when they defeated Niagara 78–56, as well as their first conference win of the season.

“The girls really earned that win,” Griffs head coach Sahar Nusseibeh said. “I’m really excited that we broke a record. I think what allowed us to be successful was our offensive execution; I think all five players on the court moved the ball really well. I think it’s easier to knock down a spot-up open shot rather than a contested shot. … We’re generating a lot easier looks.”

Of the 15 made treys on the day, the most important came with 1:04 to play.

After a steal and transition layup from Siena’s Imani Harris gave the Saints (5–12, 5–4) their first lead, 77–76, since the game’s first basket, Canisius (3–16, 1–9) desperately needed an answer — and it came through sophomore Dani Haskell.

After shaking loose from her defender, Haskell got off a good look from beyond the arc that bounced and clanked around the rim multiple times before getting a shooter’s roll and dropping, giving the Griffs back the lead, 79–77; an advantage they would not relinquish.

“It was nerve-wracking because I wasn’t sure if it was going to go in,” said Haskell of her clutch shot, as she led Canisius with 24 points and five 3-pointers. “We let them come back in the second half, but I think that shot kind of sealed that, ‘I think we definitely got this’ feeling. I’ve hit shots like that before, but still, it’s one of the shots where there’s a wave of relief.”

The Griffs were in control of the game almost from the jump, stretching their lead to double digits multiple times in the second quarter and capping it with back-to-back 3-pointers from Haskell and Ella Vaatanen in the frame’s final minute to put Canisius up 43–31 at halftime.

Poor third and fourth quarters have been a problem for the Griffs this season, and sure enough Siena slowly crept back into the game in the final stanza. Trailing 66–59 after three, the Saints took advantage of eight Canisius turnovers in the fourth quarter, tallying 12 points on them as part of an 18–8 run to make it 77–76 prior to Haskell’s late triple.

But this time around, the Griffs didn’t panic.

“I think the messaging [in the huddle] was, ‘We’ve seen this before, but this is our time today,’” Nusseibeh said. “We’ve seen teams make runs in the third and fourth quarters, but I think our girls were just in the mindset of, ‘They can make their run, but we’re going to counter and find a way to finish,’ which they did.”

Helping seal the game in the final moments was freshman Cheyenne Stubbs, whose two steals in the final eight seconds prevented Siena from having an opportunity to tie or take the lead. Stubbs (seven points) and her fellow freshmen Athina Lexa (12), Lydia Gattozzi (12) and Rhay Porter (four points, six rebounds) all played important roles for their team on Saturday, and their growth throughout the season has been extremely impactful.

“[Stubbs] is one of the most coachable players in the fact that when you challenge her, she meets it; there’s no questioning, no doubting,” Nusseibeh said. “All our freshmen, really — we are extremely proud of their growth.”

Leading the Saints was Rayshel Brown, who finished an efficient 12-for-14 from the field for 24 points.

The Griffs face some tough tests ahead on the road as they look to build off their win, first traveling to face MAAC-leading Fairfield at 2 p.m. on Saturday before facing off with Quinnipiac for a matinee at 1 p.m. on Monday.

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