NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona College women’s basketball program earned its sixth straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference win Saturday afternoon, taking down Canisius at the Koessler Athletics Center, 58-45. With the victory, the Gaels stay just one game back in the MAAC standings behind Rider and Quinnipiac, who are tied for first place.
Canisius jumped out early to a 5-0 lead behind baskets from junior Margret D’Halfdanardottir and senior Lauren D’Hont. Iona started the game cold from the floor, hitting just one of its first eight shots. Senior Marina Lizarazu netted a couple buckets to get the Gaels on the board and capped off a back-and-forth first quarter with a jumper at the buzzer to knot the game at 11.
Iona picked up the offense in the second quarter, hitting on four of its first five shots and jumping out to a 20-15 lead. The surge was bookended with a four-minute defensive stretch where Canisius was held scoreless. Sophomore Maria Welch hit her team’s first three pointer of the game at 1:31 to end the steak.
Lizarazu ended the first half with 12 points, hitting buzzer-beaters at both the end of the first and second quarters. Junior Philecia Atkins-Gilmore had two three-pointers and eight points at the break.
The Golden Griffins leading scorer sophomore Sara Hinriksdottir, averaging 15 points-per-game entering the game, played limited minutes in the first half after picking up two early fouls in the first quarter.
Canisius began the second half on a 9-0 run, taking a 27-26 lead 3:20 into the frame. The Gaels missed their first seven shots from the floor until senior Karynda DuPree ended Iona’s drought with a basket a 5:10 to give the Maroon & Gold back a slim one-point lead.
Iona entered the fourth quarter with a four-point lead. Over the first five minutes of the final frame the two programs traded baskets until sophomore Treyanna Clay converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 4:52 left. Atkins-Gilmore followed it up with a triple to bring the Iona lead back to 10.
The lead expanded to as large as 15 as the Gaels held their opponent to under 50 points for the third time over the last four games.
With 23 points, Lizarazu has eight 20-point games this season. She shot 9-of-13 from the floor and collected a game-high five steals.
DuPree scored a career-high 17 points and tied her career-high in rebounds with 12 for the second straight game. Atkins-Gilmore finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Alexis Lewis had a team-high four assists.
Hinriksdottir netted a team-high 14 points for the Golden Griffins. Hinriksdottir scored all 10 of her points in the second half.
With today’s win, head coach Billi Godsey improves to 16-0 all-time against the Buffalo native teams, Niagara and Canisius.
The Maroon & Gold return to action at the Hynes Center on Friday, Feb. when they host the Rider Broncs at 7 PM. The game can be watched live on ESPN3.com.