Niagara Falls, N.Y. — After a win on the road, the Niagara University Women’s Basketball team would lose Thursday night 70-68 to Sienna in a down-to-the-wire game. Thursday’s contest also brought recognition to Breast Cancer Awareness as the ladies sported pink warmups.
Niagara came out determined in the first quarter where they would put up a 15-11 lead. Freshman Morgan Baughman led the Purple Eagles by the end of the quarter with six points, all of which came from beyond the three-point line.
The Siena Saints would fight back in the second quarter but Niagara managed to hold them off with a 27-24 lead going in to the half. Leading scorer Victoria Rampado continued to be a presence on the court as she would end the half with 11 points and three boards.
From the start of the third quarter, Siena would continue to be persistent narrowing Niagara’s lead to two points five minutes in. Siena guard Jackie Benitez would go on a scoring frenzy scoring 13 of the team’s 26 points.
The Purple Eagles struggled in that timeframe shooting 2-6 behind the 3-point line and turning the ball over seven times. Siena took the lead 50-46 heading into the fourth quarter by shooting 69 percent from the field and 66.2 from beyond the arc.
The Purple Eagles continued to push back as junior forward Kaylee Stroemple played a large role in their efforts. Stroemple would finish with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Senior Tiffany Corselli also had an exceptional game scoring nine of her 11 points in the second half.
With three minutes left in the game, Corselli’s valiant effort on the offensive end would include a three-pointer to bring Siena’s lead down to two, and then another to put them ahead 65-64.
Siena would take the lead 68-65 with 18 seconds remaining only to have Niagara’s Jamie Sherburne would score a clutch game tying three-pointer.
With seven seconds left in the game, Siena would inbound to hot-hand Jackie Benitez, who would drive and score to win the game with a buzzer-beating layup. The Purple Eagles fall to an overall record of 7-19 on the season after the heartbreaker on Thursday night.
The Niagara Women will play their last home game on Saturday, Feb. 18 against Saint Peter’s University at 3 P.M. This game will honor the seniors, as it may be an emotional last game on the Niagara court. This year’s senior class includes Tiffany Corselli, guard from Yonkers, NY and Emily Granruth, guard from Marshall, VA.