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Stingy fourth quarter defense lifts Canisius women’s hoops over Iona, 53-49


The Canisius women's basketball team held Iona to just two points in the fourth quarter, as the Golden Griffins defeated the Gaels for the first time since Jan. 9, 2012, with a 53-49 victory in New Rochelle, N.Y., Tuesday. With the win Canisius improved to 3-10 and 1-1 in MAAC play, while Iona dropped to 0-13 and 0-2 in conference action.
With Iona leading 47-38, the Blue and Gold clamped down defensively at the right time, as the Gaels shot 1-of-13 through the final 10 minutes, including an 0-for-4 mark beyond the stripe and 0-for-2 mark at the charity stripe.
That fourth quarter defense was led by its defensive specialist, point guard Anna Sweny, who tallied five of her eight boards in the final 10 minutes. She also posted two steals in that time.
While Sweny paced the team on the defensive side,  Saliah Serrette led on the offensive side, posting five points in the final quarter, and leading the team with 11 total.
Maria Welch also hit double-figures for the Blue and Gold, registering 10 points, going 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. It was a total team effort as 11 different players notched at least one point in the contest. 
Reigning MAAC Rookie of the Week, Toyosi Abiola led the Gaels on offense, recording 21 points for Iona. Treyanna Clay also hit double-digits for Iona, posting 11 points and five rebounds.
The Griffs were edged by the Gaels in rebounding, 36-35, but Canisius' 14 points off turnovers, as opposed to Iona's 12, helped make up the difference.
The Blue and Gold also received 35 points off the bench, and used its tenacity in the paint to earn 15 second-chance points, aiding the winning effort.
"When we talked at halftime, we thought that we weren't very hard to play against defensively in the first half," head coach Terry Zeh said. "We were letting them do what they wanted offensively, which was getting the ball in the middle. In the second half however, I thought Anna Sweny played really well defensively. We also put Anndea Zeigler in and she was phenomenal matched up against Toyosi Abiola. She (Abiola) was killing us in the first half and Zeigler came in and did a great job. Anndea is still learning 'how do I play at this level without drawing fouls' but she made it tough out there and that helped us a lot"
 With the win Iona now leads the all-time series 35-25.
• Tonight's victory was first against Iona, since Jan. 9, 2012.
• With her eight-rebound effort it was the fourth time this season that Sweny has led the Blue and Gold in rebounding.
• Sweny is now averaging 5.6 rebounds per game over her last eight contests, most of any Golden Griffin in that span.
The Blue and Gold continue its road swing with a quick turnaround, with its next game coming in Riverdale, N.Y., as the Griffs play Manhattan on Thursday, at 11 a.m. for the Jaspers' kids day. The road trip wraps up on Sunday at 2 p.m., when Canisius plays Rider.