NEW ROCHELLE, NY - The Iona College women's basketball team saw a seventeen point halftime lead nearly evaporate in the second, but held on for an 84-78 victory over Canisius Saturday afternoon at the Hynes Center.
The victory marked the 300th career win for Iona head coach Anthony Bozzella, and 146th at the helm of the Gaels.
Sophomore guard Aleesha Powell paced an Iona offense that eclipsed the 80-point barrier for the third straight game with a career high 27 points. Sophomore guard Damika Martinez battled early foul trouble and scored 18 points in just 29 minutes of play.
Redshirt junior guard Haley D’Angelo scored a career high 13 points, while freshman forward Joy Adams notched her 11th double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Sabrina Jeridore tied a career-high with seven blocks and nine rebounds.
A layup by Canisius forward Allison Braun with 17:47 remaining in the first gave the Golden Griffins an early 8-2 lead. Iona would respond over the next three and a half minutes with a 15-0 run lead by six points from Martinez and five from D’Angelo.
A layup by Adams with 12:31 left in the first gave Iona its first double-digit lead of the contest, 22-11, before a free throw by freshman guard Aaliyah Robinson gave Iona its biggest lead of the half, 37-15 with 3:28 remaining in the period.
Canisius would trim the lead to eight with a 12-4 run, capped by a jumper by Braun with 44 seconds remaining in the half. Iona would get the last opportunity of the period as Powell knocked down a three pointer at the buzzer to give Iona a commanding 44-27 at the half.
Iona connected on 15 of its 32 shot attempts in the first, including nine from behind the arc. Canisius knocked down five three pointers of its own in the first, including four by senior guard Ashley Durham.
In the second half, the Golden Griffs would connect on six of their first nine attempts, and cut the Iona lead to seven, 49-42, capped by a three piointer by Jamie Ruttle with 16:11 remaining.
A three point play by Adams with 12:00 remaining gave Iona a seemingly comfortable 62-51 cushion before a 9-1 run by Canisius trimmed the Iona lead to three with 6:14 on the clock.
A layup by Adams paired with a three pointer by Martinez would give Iona an eight point advantage that Canisius would continue to attack but found insurmountable. Down the stretch, Iona would connect on all 12 of its free throw attempts in the crucial final three minutes of play.
Canisius was led by Durham's game high 29 points, while Ruttle scored 15 points and five rebounds. Freshman guard Tiahana Mills had 11 points and a team high nine rebounds.
The Gaels look to keep their current winning streak, now at three, intact Friday when they host Loyola at the Hynes Athletics Center at 7:00 pm.
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