Niagara Gazette

Niagara U.

February 3, 2010

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Niagara beats Canisius on Kids Day

Drawing more than 2,000 pre-teens to the Gallagher Center for the annual Niagara women’s basketball invariably means a noisy environment.

On Wednesday afternoon, the action on the floor was worthy of the screams.

The host Purple Eagles won for the fifth time in six starts, using a tenacious effort on the offensive glass and some timely shooting to nip archrival Canisius 52-49, moving ahead of the Golden Griffins in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings.

Three Purple Eagles scored in double-digits — freshman Kayla Stroman had 11 points while Liz Flooks and Rachele Folino each had 10 — and Niagara (8-13, 5-5 MAAC) got 23 offensive rebounds. The hosts converted that into 21 second-chance points.

“I thought they played a lot harder than us,” Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. “Their effort showed in their offensive rebounds.

Canisius (9-12, 4-6) took a 27-20 lead into the intermission, but the Purple Eagles opened the second half with a 7-0 run capped by Folino’s layup with 17:33 remaining.

From there, the hosts kept roaring to the delight of the youngsters on hand. The Purple Eagles extended their lead on back-to-back 3-pointers by Meghan Waterman and Ali Morris from alternating corners. Another Morris bucket pushed the lead to 40-32 halfway through the second half.

Niagara coach Kendra Faustin, whose team is playing its best ball in her three-year regime, giving the feisty coach reason to smile.

“We’re doing it. We’re playing with confidence, we’re making big shots, we’re moving the basketball, we’re playing as a team,’ Faustin said. “That’s the kind of basketball I love to play and I love to coach. I sit back and say this is what I’ve been waiting for. This is awesome.”

Canisius wouldn’t go quietly, though. After Flooks’ 3-pointer gave Niagara a 48-41 advantage with 2:24 left, the Griffs got a jumper from Brittane Russell, then Micayla Drysdale hit a running layup and was fouled. When she converted the free throw, the Griffs had cut it to 48-46.

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