Women's Basketball beats Saint Francis, moves to 1-1
By Peter Neville, Contributor
The Canisius women’s basketball team took care of business against Saint Francis University on Saturday, beating the Red Flash by a final score of 78–62, moving the Griffs to 1–1 on the season.
Despite the big win, head coach Sahar Nusseibeh stressed the importance of not getting complacent ahead of their game against Colgate.
“At the end of the day, winning is great, but we have to live out our standards,” said coach Nusseibeh on the ESPN broadcast, “so we’re gonna amp up our defensive intensity. Our communication wasn't as good as it needed to be, but it will be there the next time we compete.”
The Griffs were led by strong performances from starters Grace Heeps, who had 14 points, and Mackenzie Amalia with seven points, but none were better than Sisi Eleko, who with 24 points and 10 rebounds, became the first Griff to notch back-to-back games with a double double since Danielle Sanderlin in 2020.
“I came into the game feeling really confident. I had a lot of confidence coming from my coaches and my teammates, and I’m really just grateful for the guards that I have who are so unselfish and understand that no one can guard Sisi, so let's feed her the ball and trust in her ability to go to work,” Eleko said.
The strong performances in the first two games culminated in Eleko being rewarded with the MAAC player of the week, making her the first women’s basketball player to receive the honor since Vanessa Garrelts in 2022.
When asked how she felt about the award, Eleko said, “It means a lot. It really gave me more confidence to see that I can do anything that I put my mind into when I'm focused and that the sky's the limit, and as long as I keep doing what I'm supposed to do, great things are going to keep happening for me.”
The Griffs next game takes place at Cotterell Court where they will take on the 2–0 Colgate University who are coming off wins against UMBC and Cornell. Canisius has seen recent success against Colgate as they have won the last two matchups against the Raiders. The Griffs also play next Monday where they take on D’Youville at the Koessler Athletic Center. The Saints sport a 1–1 record on the season with a win against Dominican University and a loss to American International.