The atmosphere at the Koessler Athletic Center was unmatched last Saturday as the Griffs hosted their annual Play4Kay game against MAAC foe Fairfield. Honoring the history of the program in Canisius’ 150 year anniversary, the Blue and Gold welcomed back past players and announced the All-Sesquential team. With so much excitement in the air, it would only be right to continue the celebration with a victory to halt the nine-game losing streak.
With a 72-70 loss to Fairfield on the road last month, the Griffs knew how to edge out the Stags this time around they would have to be defensively sound and have a group effort on the offensive end, and on Saturday afternoon they did just that.
In a back-and-forth first few minutes of play, the Stags went on a 12-0 run in attempts to interrupt the festivities and shatter any hopes of a Canisius win. Instead, the Griffs clawed back and tied the game at 17 apiece with 4:23 left in the second quarter. After settling down and getting into rhythm, Patterson-Ricks and Shannon Conely added buckets before time expired to go into the locker room with a 29-25 lead over the Stags.
Throughout the season the Blue and Gold have struggled to hold onto a lead coming out of the intermission, but the team flipped the script and dominated the second half. With the Griffs lead at its peak approaching a 12-point cushion, it looked like they could cruise into their third win of the season.
Fairfield did not roll over down the stretch either, as co-leading scorers Lou Lopez-Senechal and Katie Armstrong had strong efforts to mount a comeback with 22 points each. With less than a minute to go, three calls that went against the Griffs made the end of the game interesting and brought their lead down to five. Foul shots from Patterson-Ricks sealed the win as Canisius walked away with a 70-63 win against the Stags.
“It was certainly exciting to see them come together on both ends of the floor for 40 minutes. Fairfield is a very good team and for us to have an attacking mentality against an opponent of that caliber is certainly a positive step,” head coach Scott Hemer said of his team’s effort.
Junior Danielle Sanderlin continued to show her dominance with another 20-point performance on 9-16 shooting with seven boards. Strong contributions from seniors Patterson-Ricks with 19 points, AJ Timbers with 17, and Conely’s 10 off the bench were vital to the team’s success.
The Griffs shot 50% from the field, a 46.9% clip beyond the arc, and an impressive 92.6% from the charity stripe. A defense that has been inconsistent throughout the campaign, limited the Stags to 40.3% shooting and 28.6% from three.
Canisius looks to ride the momentum into their February 15 game against St. Peter’s, with tip off at 2 p.m. at the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City, N.J.