Thursday, March 3, 2016

Siena 79, Rider 76: Tempo-Free Analysis

Jackie Benitez and coach Ali Jaques meet the media after Siena's win over Rider in MAAC Tournament. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

Albany, NY -­ A year ago, Siena thrilled local fans by upsetting Iona in the conference quarterfinals. In the first round of this year's tournament, the Saints thrilled, excited, and had the pulses of their faithful quicken as the seventh-seeded Saints outlasted No. 10 seed Rider, 79­-76, in an overtime thriller at the Times Union Center.

Possessions: 89

Offensive efficiency: Siena 89, Rider 85

eFG: Rider 45, Siena 44
FT rate: Rider 73, Siena 46
OREB pct: Rider 26, Siena 40

TO rate: Rider, 27, Siena 31

Leading scorers and EF:
Rider: ­ Kamila Hoskova 26 points, EF 35.
Siena: ­ Jackie Benitez 23 points, EF 24.

What Rider did well: Play hard and compete. (Coach) Lynn Milligan does a great job getting her team to play hard,” Siena coach Ali Jaques said. “They were down 17 the first half, down near the end of the game and down in overtime, and each time, they fought back.”

What Siena did well: Rebound. The Saints led in offensive rebound percentage, thus extending possessions. In second chance points, they held a 15-­4 edge.

Jackie Benitez contributed 23 points and six rebounds, offset by seven turnovers. Still, it was a good performance by a freshman in her first college postseason action. “Her teammates got her the ball and she responded,” said Jaques.

Siena was guilty of 33 personal fouls, with five fouling out. They finished the game with four players. Rider shot 26-of-41 from the line, a 63 percent rate that hurt their chance of an upset. Their biggest miss was by Robin Perkins. She scored 19 points, but was 9-of-19 from the stripe. With Siena ahead by two, Perkins converted a last second drive and was fouled. She missed the free throw, necessitating overtime.

Points were plenty off turnovers. Siena held a 30­-28 advantage in that department. Interestingly, for all the drama, the score was tied only three times, with just two lead changes. Rider played only seven players, but still tied the Saints at 35 in points off the bench.

Final thoughts:
“At one point, I said 'oh my God, we have four players,' then 'oh my God, we have four freshmen out there.'” -­ Siena’s Kollyns Scarbrough

“Thanks first for the fan support this afternoon. I know the Oscars are over, but we could have won for best entertainment. We had people on the edge of their seats. At times, we did not make smart plays, but we gutted it out. All year, this team has taught me to be patient because they are so young. And all year, this team has competed and found a way to win. We finished the game with four players. That was tough because I had no out of bounds plays for four but our kids adjusted. Against Iona, (in the upcoming quarterfinal) they have Joy Adams who is a pro, we have to be patient and figure a way to compete. We’ll be ready.” ­- Siena coach Ali Jaques

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