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  • Peter Neville

Women’s basketball holds on versus Manhattan, punches ticket to MAAC-Semifinal

By Peter Neville, Sports Reporter

Women’s basketball punched their ticket to the semi-finals, defeating Manhattan 58-55 and locking in their first trip to the MAAC final four since the 2008-09 season. 

“For us to get back to a semi final and to get back to the caliber of team and program that that 2008-08 team was and the programs before, it means everything," said head coach Sahar Nusseibeh. 

After two losses to the Jaspers earlier in the season by a combined six points, Nusseibeh got the monkey off her back by defeating her former program and former mentor Heather Vulin for the first time during her tenure as the Canisius head coach. 

“Heather is extremely special to me” Said Coach Nusseibeh “She is a champion for women, she gave me an opportunity to be her top assistant, her right hand when it came to building a program at Manhattan” 

The game itself mirrored the intensity of the Jaspers and Griffs' previous matchups. Canisius surged to a 10-point lead in the second half, but Manhattan mounted a comeback, closing the gap to three points with under a minute to go. But player of the game Sisi Eleko's late free throws sealed the victory for the Griffs and sent them to the next round. 

The Golden Griffins were once again led in scoring by sophomore Sisi Eleko, who recorded 24 points and 11 rebounds, 17 of which came in the first half. For the Jaspers, junior guard Nitzan Amar led in scoring with 11 points and 5 assists including three makes from behind the arch. 

Canisius faces nationally ranked Fairfield tomorrow morning at 11 AM as the Griffs aim to hand the Stags their first loss against an in-conference opponent, with the Stags holding a perfect 20-0 record in MAAC play this season. In their earlier matchups this year, the Griffs lost 64-51 at the Koessler Athletic Center and 70-42 on the road.

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