Women's Basketball drops season opener to UB
By Peter Neville
For the fourth straight year, Canisius and University at Buffalo women’s basketball tipped their seasons off against each other. Despite leading by as many as 12 points, the Griffs dropped their season opener 69–60 at Alumni Arena.
The game was a back-and-forth affair which boasted 11 lead changes, but a late 9-0 run by the Bulls in the fourth quarter would be enough for Buffalo to see out the comeback victory over Canisius and move to 1–0 on the season.
Canisius led Buffalo 41–29 on the back of two assists my Mackenzie Amalia early in the second half, but a 17–7 run to end the third quarter by UB would see the two teams enter the fourth quarter with Canisius leading by only two points, a lead which they would surrender as UB outscored the Griffs 23–12 in the fourth quarter en route to their victory.
The game would feature three debuts for Canisius, as the revamped backcourt saw their first live action of the season with all three newcomers, with Mackenzie Amalia, Grace Heeps and Bri Rozzi getting starts in their first games for the Blue and Gold.
“We said it in the locker room before the game started that we're ready, and I think a lot of that credit goes to the experience we brought in,” said coach Sahar Nusseibeh. “They may be new to Canisius, but they're experienced competitors,” she continued.
The best performance of the three transfers came from senior guard Mackenzie Amalia, who led the Griffs in points and assists on the night with 16 points and eight assists — 14 of those points coming in the first half.
“I came in feeling really confident,” said Amalia. “It felt amazing to be able to push the tempo. That wasn't something that I was able to do in the past, and now being on this team, we just have really great athletes and they're able to run the floor and I’m able to find them. It's just really awesome to play with players who want to win as much as you do.”
Even with the stellar performances of newcomer Mackenzie Amalia and returning sophomore Sisi Eleko, Canisius was unable to make a late comeback as senior guard Rana Elhusseini of Buffalo would make three late free throws ending any hopes of a comeback attempt after Canisius made it a two possession game with just under two minutes remaining.
The Griffs return to action this Saturday at 1 p.m. as they take on Saint Francis University at the Koessler Athletic Centre in their first home game of the season. The Red Flash will be coming into the game 0–1 after losing their first game of the season to Robert Morris University.