NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona College women’s basketball program avenged two regular season losses to Siena by toppling the No. 4 seeded Saints in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals, 67-47. The Gaels had three Gaels in double-figures and managed a team-defensive effort that limited Siena to just 30.8% shooting.
All-MAAC First Team member senior Marina Lizarazu scored a game-high 23 points and dished out eight assists. Defensively she was locked on Siena’s All-MAAC First Team performer Jackie Benitez and limited the conference’s leading scorer to 13 points on 3-for-12 shooting.
Senior Karynda DuPree finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. All-MAAC First Team sophomore Alexis Lewis recorded her 11th double-double of the season with 14 points and 14 rebounds. The Pittston, PA native shot 4-of-7 from beyond the arc and had two of Iona’s six total steals.
Siena started the game hitting four of its first eight shots, but soon after the Maroon & Gold climbed to their defensive standard and secured control. Over the final 12:36 of the first half, Iona held Siena to 2-for-17 shooting. The Saints shot 6-for-25 (24%) in the first half while Iona succeeded at a 47% clip.
DuPree gave the Gaels a 14-13 lead with 1:07 remaining in the first quarter, and they wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder. The senior center finished the first half with 10 points and six rebounds. Lizarazu had 10 points with five assists and Lewis connected on two three-point field goals.
The Maroon & Gold led the Saints 35-22 at the start of the third quarter. Senior Meghan Donohue got Siena on the board quickly in the third quarter with two field goals. The forward presence played limited time in the first half due to foul trouble; just six minutes and two points scored.
The Saints held the Gaels without any points for the first 4:47 of the third. Despite the offensive drought, Iona still led by nine when DuPree knocked down a free throw for the Gaels’ first second half points. Lewis put the game out of reach with back-to-back triples over the final three minutes of the third that gave Iona a 16-point lead.
The lead grew as large as 25 at the 6:45 mark of the fourth.
Freshman Amelia Motz came off the bench and scored a career-high seven points in 25 minutes. Freshman Tori Lesko played 31 minutes and scored two points with three rebounds. She also drew two offensive fouls on Siena’s junior starting guard Kollyns Scarbrough.
Iona outrebounded Siena 43-32 and outscored the Saints 36-to-28 in the paint. The Gaels shot 42.6% from the floor and 33.3% from long range. After earning only four free throw attempts in the regular-season finale against Siena, Iona got 17 attempts from the charity stripe in Saturday’s victory.
This afternoon’s matchup between the Gaels and Saints was the third straight MAAC tournament quarterfinals meeting between the two programs.
Iona has a short turnaround as it takes on top-seeded Quinnipiac in a rematch of the 2016 championship game on Sunday, Mar. 5 at 11 AM. The game is being broadcasted live on ESPN3 and IonaInsider.com will carry a free audio stream.