Monmouth uses late offensive surge to eliminate Griffs

Hinriksdóttir-6

Sara Hinriksdóttir scored a team-best 18 points and established a new career-high for steals in the loss to Monmouth in the MAAC Tournament. (Marshall Haim/The Griffin)

By Marshall Haim

Sports Editor

A 15-2 run in the final seven-plus minutes by ninth-seeded Monmouth aided an improbable comeback to eliminate the Canisius women’s basketball team at the Times Union Center Thursday morning.

Monmouth (10-20) outscored Canisius (10-20) in the final quarter, 20-6, en route to the 61-58 win in the first round of the MAAC Tournament. The Hawks shot 58 percent from the field in the fourth quarter (7-of-12), including 4-of-7 from three-point range. Canisius was just 3-of-11 in the final 10 minutes and made just one of their last seven field goal attempts.

Canisius led by as much as 15 points halfway through the first half.

Kayla Shaw (six points) and Rhaiah Spooner-Knight (five points) were the main benefactors for the Hawks down the stretch, who advance to play top-seeded Quinnipiac Friday at 1 p.m. in Albany.

Spooner-Knight finished with a game-high 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Shaw finished with 13 points, nine of which came via three-pointers.

Canisius, who led for 33:32, was extremely effective on the defensive side of the ball forcing the Hawks to cough the ball up 26 times. The 26 forced turnovers tied a season-high set Feb. 1 against Niagara. Monmouth had 16 turnovers in the first half.

“I thought we were really good for the first 33 minutes, and then we got a little tight,” Zeh told GoGriffs.com. “We were feeling really comfortable for long stretches, but then when they [started] making a run, we got uncomfortable and we could not get back to a comfortable place. I thought we played pretty well for most of the game, unfortunately, you have to do it for 40 minutes.”

Anna Sweny established a new career-high for steals (five) in the losing effort. Sara Hinriksdóttir (three steals) also bested her previous record for steals, which had previously stood at two. Maria Welch also had three steals, tying her highest mark with Canisius for the third time.

Hinriksdóttir led the Griffs in scoring with 18 points. She added five rebounds and three assists.

Freshmen Danielle Sanderlin (16 points, seven rebounds and a career-high four assists) and Anndea Zeigler (11 points) both shined in their first appearance in the conference tournament. Sanderlin and Zeigler became the first freshman duo from Canisius to net at least 10 points in a MAAC Tournament game under Terry Zeh’s direction.

With one Canisius team eliminated, the focus will shift toward the men’s squad who will play their first game of the MAAC Tournament at 9:30 p.m. Friday. The Griffs will play the winner of the Siena and Quinnipiac game, which will be played Thursday at 7 p.m.

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