Final: Niagara 66, Canisius 60
3:57 left: Niagara leads, 58-53. It's still too close to call, but Niagara appears to have control of the game. The Griffs aren't immune from creating dramatic comebacks, but the Purple Eagles have plenty of confidence at the moment.
7:44 left: Niagara leads, 50-47. A hard-earned offensive rebound by Jamie Ruttle, a put back and a foul cut the lead to three for Canisius but the Griffs have not been able to get over the hump. On the flip side, Niagara is doing just enough to stay ahead, coming up with the big plays when necessary.
11:20 left: Niagara leads, 46-44. The Griffs are on an 8-2 run and seem to have a bit more energy in the last few possessions.
15:40 left: Niagara leads, 40-36. It's a back-and-forth affair at the moment. So far Niagara has been able to weather the storm, so to speak, but the Griffs are gritty and not ready to concede on their home court.
18:34 left: Niagara leads, 36-33. The Purple Eagles called timeout after Canisius began on a 5-0 run incluidng a three-pointer from Jen Morabito and an offensive putback from Ashley Wilkes.
Halftime: Niagara leads, 36-28. Consider the Purple Eagle are only averaging 50 points a game this season. Niagara is shoooting 47.1 percent (16 of 34) and have 10 points off turnovers and seven second-chance points. It's a balanced scoring sheet for Niagara, led by nine points from Lauren Gatto and Kayla Stroman. For Canisius, Ashley Durham has 10 points, thanks to an 8-for-8 performance from the free throw line.
3:02 left: Niagara leads, 31-21. The Griffs cut the lead to four, 23-10, a three-pointer from Jen Morabito, but threes from Ali Morris and Kayla Stroman paced the Purple Eagles to the first double-digit lead of the game. Ashley Durham will be shooting a pair of free throws out of the time out.
7:26 left: Niagara leads, 21-12. What a performance from the Puprle Eagles. They're finding lanes and gaps in the defense to score points and frustrating the Griffs on the other end. Canisius is settling for three-pointers but not getting any rebounds.
11:27 left: Niagara leads, 13-10. Meghan McGuinness hit a three-pointer to give Niagara the lead. After the teams seemed content to trade missed shots and turnovers, the Purple Eagles started hitting shots and, more importantly, getting offesnive rebounds to reset their offense and produce points. The Griffs offense went cold in that segement.
15:39 left: Canisius leads, 8-4. The Griffs are active and aggressive on defense, but Niagara is quick in the backcourt and can create off turnovers and in the open court. Ashley Wilkes has four points for Canisius, getting good seals in the low post and soldi feeds from the perimeter.
And the Battle of the Bridge invades the Koessler Athletic Center for a basketball doubleheader. Our first game features the women with both Canisius and Niagara looking to end two-game losing streaks.
The Golden Griffins (8-9, 2-4 MAAC) have won the last three meetings and seven of the last 10 with Niagara. It's the 80th meeting between the schools with Canisius holding a 47-32 edge. Canisius continues to be a team which shares the ball well, notching an assist on 69 percent of their field goal attempts -- sixth best in the country. Ashley Durham is averaging 4.2 assists per game.
Niagara (5-13, 2-4 MAAC) is led by sophomore Kayla Stroman who is averaging 9.7 points a game with 58 assists. The Purple Eagles are averaging just 50.5 points a game this season.
--- Amy Moritz