Siena Heights connected on 33-of-40 free throws en route to picking up an 82-67 victory against Briar Cliff at the Cruzin Classic Monday morning in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Both squads are receiving votes in the NAIA DII Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Poll and each spent a fair amount of time at the charity stripe as the two combined for 31 free throws in the first half (16 for Siena Heights, 15 for Briar Cliff). By game’s end the Chargers were whistled for 30 fouls and the Saints were called for 24 infractions. Two players for Briar Cliff fouled out in the game (Logan Ehlers and Taylor Vasa) and one player ended the game with five fouls for Siena Heights (Pat Whittington).
Peyton Banks took advantage of her trips to the free throw line, scoring all of her 14 points at the line on 14 tries. She also had a game-high 13 rebounds. The top scorer in the contest was the Saints’ Haley Hoffman with 20. Whittington led all players with four assists.
“It was a frustrating game,” said head BC coach Mike Power. “They shot 40 free throws, but bigger than that was our cold shooting.”
Briar Cliff was just 22-of-68 shooting in the game for 32.4%. The Chargers forced 34 turnovers and scored 32 points off of turnovers, but missed on a lot of opportunities to put up points. BC was 10-for-26 on 3-pointers (38.5%) and 13-for-23 from the free throw line for 56.5%.
Taylor Wagner led the Blue and Gold in scoring with 18 points and had a team-high three assists. Breanna Allen scored a career-high 16 points for the Cliff and Madelyn Deitchler topped the team in rebounds with eight. Wagner, Allen and Deitchler all tied for a game-high in steals at four.
Despite the turnover issue, Siena Heights was efficient on the offensive end. The Saints connected on 23-of-45 shots from the field for 51.1%. They had issues with the deep ball, hitting on just 3-of-11 3-pointers, but scored 32 points in the paint compared to just 18 for BC. Siena Heights held a big edge in rebounding 50-26, including 13 offensive rebounds that turned in to 13 second chance points. Briar Cliff also hauled in 13 offensive rebounds but only took advantage for five points.
The win moves Siena Heights to 11-3 on the year, while Briar Cliff dropped to 8-7. The Chargers won’t return to action until the Holiday Classic as they take on Grand View at 1 p.m. Saturday, December 29 on the campus of Morningside College. The following day BC will take on Haskell Indian Nations as part of the event.
“We need to rest some people and break is coming at a good time,” said Power.