|Jaspers Pick Up Important Win Over Iona, 59-54|
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - With the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament just two weeks away, the Manhattan College women's basketball team knew that Wednesday night's game against rival Iona could go a long way in determining whether or not it has to play an extra game in early March. Facing a virtual must-win against a team they lost to earlier this season, the Jaspers (14-12, 8-6 MAAC) took care of business, leading from start to finish in a 59-54 victory over the Gaels (10-15, 6-8 MAAC) at Draddy Gymnasium. It was Manhattan's fifth win in its last six games.
Manhattan scored the first five points of the game and led 12-3 after a three-pointer by Monica Roeder (Marlton, N.J.) at the 12:44 mark of the first half. Iona responded with a 7-0 run to get within two, 12-10, before a pair of Schyanne Halfkenny (Hyde Park, Mass.) free throws ignited a 9-0 Jaspers rally that pushed the lead back to 11 points, 21-10. A Halfkenny trey made it 24-11 with 5:26 before halftime, and Manhattan took a 32-22 advantage into the locker room.
The Jaspers shot 45.8 percent (11-of-24) from the field and 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from three-point range in the half, while holding the Gaels to 29.2 percent (7-of-24) shooting, including 18.2 percent (2-of-11) from distance, in the opening 20 minutes.
"Schyanne hit some really key baskets for us, especially during that little stretch where they were coming back," Head Coach John Olenowski said. "I thought she played a really good all-around game."
Peters and Halfkenny hooked up again on the next Manhattan possession, this time on a trey from the right wing that extended the lead to nine, 57-48, with 2:37 to go. After a three-pointer by Kristina Ford and a Haley D'Angelo layup cut the margin to four, Halfkenny hit a jumper (giving her seven straight Manhattan points) to again make it a two-possession game, 59-53, with 50 seconds on the clock. A Ford free throw brought Iona within five, 59-54, then Iona got steals on each of the next two Manhattan possessions. However, the Jaspers' defense held. Iona missed two three-pointers with 15 seconds left, and Lindsey Loutsenhizer (North Huntingdon, Pa.) grabbed the rebound on the last, securing Manhattan's five-point victory.
Loutsenhizer recorded a double-double for Manhattan, collecting 11 points and 10 rebounds. She also had four steals. Halfkenny finished with a team-high 14 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists, while Herrington notched 11 points, four assists and three steals. Peters added four rebounds and six assists. As a team, the Jaspers shot 43.5 percent (20-of-46) from the field and handed out 18 assists on 20 made field goals. Manhattan shot 47.1 percent (8-of-17) from three-point land and 84.6 percent (11-of-13) at the free throw line.
Martinez finished with a game-high 24 points for the Gaels. She also had seven rebounds and five steals. Ford tallied a double-double with 14 points and 14 boards to go along with three assists and four steals. Tomica Bacic recorded nine points and six rebounds, while Suzi Fregosi handed out a team-high four assists. Iona shot 31.6 percent (18-of-57) from the field and outrebounded Manhattan 39-30. The Gaels shot 25 percent (8-of-32) from long range and 62.5 percent (10-of-16) at the charity stripe.
With the win, Manhattan moved into a tie for third place in the MAAC with four games remaining in the regular season. Three of those four games are on road, starting with a 7 p.m. contest at Siena (8-15, 6-8 MAAC) on Friday night. The Jaspers notched a 56-53 victory over the Saints at Draddy Gymnasium on Feb. 2.
"The last four games are all trying," Olenowski said. "But we've put ourselves in a good position. Now we've just got to maintain that. We're playing some good basketball, and I think we understand the magnitude of every game. I like the way that we're playing right now."
NOTES: It was Manhattan's annual "Play 4 Kay" game for breast cancer awareness...The Jaspers and Gaels split the season series for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign...Manhattan holds a 44-22 edge all-time...It was Loutsenhizer's fourth double-double of the season, and her first since a 17-point, 12-rebound performance against Marist on Feb. 4...With a miss late in the second half, Loutsenhizer snapped a string of 16 consecutive successful free throw attempts dating back to the first meeting of the season with Iona on Jan. 15...The Jaspers didn't trail for the second straight game...Manhattan used its 12th different starting lineup of the season, with Peters making her first start since Jan. 22.