Icelandic duo lifts Griffs over Monmouth


Margrét Hálfdanardóttir scored a career-high 23 points in Friday’s win over Monmouth. (Emyle Watkins/The Griffin)

By Marshall Haim

Sports Editor

Key offensive performances by Margrét Hálfdanardóttir and Sara Hinriksdóttir to go along with stout defense helped Canisius defeat Monmouth on Friday night at the Koessler Athletic Center, 62-50.

The Icelandic duo accounted for 74 percent of the Griffs’ scoring (46 points) while shooting 20-34 from the floor.

Hálfdanardóttir scored a career-high 23 points in her final weekend at the Koessler Athletic Center, shooting 9-of-15 from the floor, including 4-of-9 from three-point range. Hinriksdóttir was 11-of-19 shooting while being one rebound shy of achieving her third double-double of the season.

With the absense of Maria Welch, who missed her fourth consecutive game Friday, Hálfdanardóttir has had to step up as the team’s primary three-point shooter.

“They basically told me, ‘You have the ultimate green light. Just shoot whenever you want to,'” Hálfdanardóttir said. “They just told me that they needed a little extra from me since she’s out. It’s hard — especially with two starters now out — but I feel like people are really stepping up and doing what they can and it’s been working.”

The Hafnarfjörður native scored the first five points for Canisius while scoring 17 of her 23 points in the first half. She also had five assists and a pair of steals. It is the first time the senior guard scored in double-figures in almost a month (11 points at Monmouth on Jan. 20).

“I think it really helped to score the first five points right off the bat,” Hálfdanardóttir said. “I feel like I was making up for (the fact that) I haven’t been shooting the threes as well as I have done in the past seasons. I felt good to kind of redeem myself.”

Hinriksdóttir scored 15 of her 23 points in the second half, including 10 in the third quarter. The junior forward came off the bench logging 38 minutes of action. A bulk of her points came off 15-foot jumpers that was being made as if it was practice.

“They were playing zone and against a zone I try to get my passes are the free throw line and today my pullups were going in,” she said.

“I thought Sara was amazing in the middle of their zone,” head coach Terry Zeh added. “We got that zone spaced and cutting and moving and just got the looks that we wanted to get in there.”

As a team, Canisius shot 48 percent from the field, their best mark of the season breaking their 46 percent clip at Bowling Green on Nov. 19. Their 26 made field goals was the most made this year.

On the defensive side of the ball, Canisius forced Monmouth to get scoring from 11 of the 12 players that saw action on Friday night. Adriana Zelaya, who played only seven minutes, and Alexa Middleton led the Hawks with seven points each. The Griffs kept key guards Kayla Shaw and Rhaiah Spooner-Knight in check, allowing just 11 points on 4-of-17 shooting (1-of-8 from three-point range) combined.

“Don’t let Shaw get the rhythm three. The kid can really shoot the basketball and don’t let her get those and we didn’t let her get any rhythm threes,” Zeh explained regarding his team’s success defensively. “They like to duck their post players in so we were trying to not let that happen and not let (Spooner-Knight) get to the basket. She had 25 in the last game (against Manhattan) and it was all off the bounce and we wanted to keep her in front.”

Anna Sweny recorded four steals for the second consecutive game on Friday. The sophomore guard has recorded at least one steal in 21 games and has 15 games with multiple steals this season.

Canisius (9-17 overall, 7-8 MAAC) will host Rider (11-15, 8-7) in another pivotal MAAC game as the season dwindles down. The Griffs will honor four of their seniors players: Hálfdanardóttir, Sarah Cooley, Saliah Serrette and Abby Schwenk in a pregame ceremony. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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