by Amy Moritz
Final score: Canisius 51, Niagara 36
In the grand scheme of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Friday night's game between Canisius and Niagara mattered little in the women's basketball standings. The Purple Eagles were likely going to be in the 4-5 game, now more likely as a No. 5 seed. The Golden Griffins' fate is in their own hands on Sunday. Win and they avoid the dreaded 7-10 play-in (err, prequarterfinal) game. Lose, and they're playing Thursday afternoon before the MAAC tourney really kicks off in Springfield, Mass. But Canisius manged to stay very much in the present and give their best defensive performance of the season.
How Canisius Won: The Griffs used an 18-0 run to close out the second half, opening up a double-digit, 27-13, lead. Niagara started the second half on a 5-0 run to close the gap to seven, but back-to-back three-pointers from the Griffs sealed the lead.
Stat of the Night: Niagara shot just 20.4 percent from the field for the game and hit just 5 of 29 (17.2 percent) in the first half.
Stat of the Night II: Canisius coach Terry Zeh said the game plan was to have balanced minutes. Nine Canisius players had double-digit minutes. Jen Morabito had the most, clocking in at 28. The balanced mintues led to balanced scoring with nine Griffs in the scoring column and no one in double figures.
Player of the Game: Ashley Wilkes had a beautiful fake handoff then drove the baseline alone early in the first half which gave Canisius a ton of momentum. She finsiehd with nine points and seven rebounds.
Player of the Game II: Brooke Angelos played outstanding defense and made it difficult for Niagara standout guard Kayla Stroman to turn the corner or get off a good shot.
Counting the House: Only 372 at the Gallagher Center tonight. In defense of Niagara, the school started its spring break today.
Off the Bench: Assistant coach Corinne Jones took over head coaching duties for the game, and will do so for the remainder of the season, as Kendra Faustin is on maternity leave. Faustin gave birth to her second child, Blake, on Wednesday.
Up next: Canisius travels to Albany to play Siena on Sunday afternoon while Niagara closes out the season Sunday at Manhattan.