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  • Peter Neville

Women’s basketball splits last two games against conference opponents

By: Peter Neville, Sports Reporter

Since Dec. 30, Canisius’s women's basketball team has struggled to find its form, going five and seven over that stretch. This trend continued this past Saturday as the Griffs lost 70–56 against Mount St. Mary’s, splitting the season series against the Mountaineers. 

After a back-and-forth first half which saw the Griffs enter the break down only three points, Canisius was outscored 18-0 in the third quarter. This was a departure from the norm this season, as Canisius has tended to play its best basketball coming out of the break. 

“I think it was just mental lapses,” said coach Nusseibeh. “In the last five minutes of that quarter, we just lapsed mentally, and our focus waned to the point where we were giving them the ball and, credit to them, they took advantage of it.” 

Although the Griffs have struggled to stay consistent as of late, the schedule in front of them provides an ample opportunity to gain ground in the MAAC standings. Coach Nusseibeh detailed what she wants to see from her team heading into this four-game stretch which could define her team's season.“We’ve talked about having a ‘dawg’ mentality, and what that means is to be the ultimate competitor, meaning ‘I'm going to do whatever it takes to win the possession I'm in and stay present within the game,’” she said.

Sophomores Sisi Eleko and Brooklyn Thrash continued their strong seasons against the Mountaineers, leading the scoring for the Griffs with 19 and 12 points, respectively. However, coach Nusseibeh said that she would like to see more out of the experienced players on her roster down the stretch. “I think Mackenzie as our point guard has shown incredible moments, but I would like her to step up in terms of consistency. She's our floor general, and as a team, you go as your point guards go.” 

Canisius bounced back from their loss to the Mountaineers, defeating Marist 68–52 on Thursday night in their “Play4Kay” game at home. The Griffs and Red Foxes came out of the first frame tied at 14, before Canisius established a 14 point lead, heading into half ahead 38–24. The Griffs outscored their opponents 17–10 in the third quarter to extend their lead. Canisius was able to hold on to their lead winning by double–digits. Sisi Eleko posted her twelfth double-double of the season with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Guard Mackenzie Amalia responded to claims of inconsistency posting 17 points benefiting from five three-pointers. Athina Lexa contributed 15 points in the effort, shooting 75 percent from deep. The Griffs are now 9-1 after a loss. Head coach Sahar Nusseibeh dedicated the win to Kay Yow, and said she was proud of their "bounce back ability,"

"I think we have a team that's united and a team that loves each other and when you have that, this (a win) is what you're gonna get," said Nusseibeh

Over the weekend, they’ll continue their homestand on Saturday against Siena, who currently holds the second seed in the MAAC. The Griffs pose an opportunity to sweep the Saints for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

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