BUFFALO, NY - The Iona College women's basketball team erased a double digit first half deficit and pulled away in the second to the tune of a 69-57 win over Canisius Friday evening at the Koessler Athletic Center. The win marked the Gaels' ninth straight win, matching a season high of a year ago, and the team's tenth consecutive MAAC regular season victory.
Junior guard Damika Martinez led the Gaels with 27 points in the contest, connecting on nine shots from the field, including five from behind the arc. Junior guard Aleesha Powell had 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting, scoring 14 of points in the second half. Sophomore forward Joy Adams scored 13 points and grabbed a game high 16 rebounds.
In the first half, the Griffs connected early and often, grabbing a 14-3 lead with 16:06 remaining on a layup by Jamie Ruttle. Canisius would then extend the lead to a game high 13 points, 27-14, on a layup by Jen Morabito with 9:58 remaining in the period.
The Gaels were able to ramp up the defensive intensity late in the half, limiting Canisius to just six more points. On the offensive end, the Gaels chipped away, ending the half on a 12-2 run. Iona cut the lead to five on a jumper by Powell with 2:41 remaining before a three pointer with 40 seconds by Powell left slashed the margin to two, 33-31, at the half.
Powell opened the scoring in the second half with a layup before Adams' jumper with 18:23 remaining gave the Maroon & Gold its first lead of the contest, 35-33. The Griffs would answer later in the half, taking a 42-40 lead on a layup by Jen Lennox before a three pointer by Powell with 13:56 remaining gave the Gaels a one point lead, and the advantage for good.
A three by Martinez with 6:10 remaining gave Iona its first double digit lead, 59-49, before the Gaels grabbed their biggest lead of the game, 65-51, on a Martinez layup with 2:55 left on the clock.
In the second half, Iona forced Canisius into 13 turnovers and 33.3% shooting from the field. The Gaels reserved a first half shooting clip of 36.7% by connecting on 51.9% of their attempts in the second half.
Canisius was led by Crystal Porter and Tiahana Mills, who eached scored 14 points. Iona completes its trip up north Sunday when it visits Niagara for a 2:00 pm start.