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Iona escapes dogged Saints

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Siena started rough, then came back in the second half, but Iona came away with the 57-50 win. Damika Martinez scored 20 to lead the Gaels, with Aaliyah Robinson contributing 115 points and Joy Adams notching 11 rebounds. Meghan Donohue of Siena led all scorers with 21 points, while Margot Hetzke had 16. For drawn-out agonies, coming so close, frustration, awkward moments, and bone-chilling cold, join your intrepid and technically challenged blogger after the jump, but don't let her near any laptops.

Good afternoon, everyone We're coming to you from the frozen tundra of New Rochelle, hoping to witness history at Iona College. The oft-mentioned-in-these-GNoD Damika Martinez is 23 points away from breaking the MAAC scoring record, and it seems like a pretty good bet she'll do it against Siena.

Today is both Girl Scout Day and Play4Kay day, just in case we didn't have all our WBB-emphasis-on-the-W bases covered. The pink shirts really, really do not go with the green and yellow of Siena.

Good to see Ashley Murray back in something resembling uniform, and Casey Wortley off the crutches.

Siena's Under Armour sneakers might be standard issue, but they're pretty awesome standard issue.

Shoutout to IC tech and the sekrit password. I saw nothing!

That may have been the longest national anthem in American history. It may have been 1824 by the time she was done torturing every line.

At halftime it is 27-16 Iona, and it has been slightly uglier than Medusa staring down a gargoyle. For a very long time it was 10-4. Siena's only dressing seven, which doesn't help. The officiating has been awful, too. Like, really bad.

I'm not sure, but I think the mysteriously disappeared (nah, she just transferred to Pace) Christina Rubin appears to have resurfaced for this game. Everyone wants to see Mika hit that 23. She's at 10 right now, which is a game-high.

I cannot with some of this cluster today, and St. John's is not helping me over in Fox Sports land.

Have you ever wondered what the basketball equivalent of Chinese water torture might be? This game was the perfect example. This was all kinds of ugly. A team with players meant to run should be doing a lot more running against a squad that only has seven players and is essentially only running two plays. I think Damika going for the milestone might have gotten to people's heads a little bit- there were a lot of forced shots and hurried shots, a lot of pressing and mistakes born of haste.

Symone Kelly brought a little bit of scoring punch, which might be why she started the second half over Kollyns Scarbrough. She was one of the few players who could find the bottom of the basket for Siena. Emia Willingham played sparingly in the second half, which is actually pretty spectacular give how short Siena's rotation was out of necessity. Since I don't remember her dong much in the first half, that might be why.

Ida Krogh's shot was all over the place. I think she doesn't know what her role's supposed to be in this offense, whether she's playing point guard or forward, and it's messing with her a little bit. Tehresa Coles impressed me on the defensive end, intercepting passes like a boss and deflecting the ones she couldn't catch. She came up with a couple of nice baskets in the second half, albeit jumpers with an unconventional release. I'm trying to remember Kollyns Scarbrough on the floor, but I'm not coming up with anything, which might be why she got sent to the bench for the second half. Or Kelly's the normal starter but did something stupid. I don't know. Siena's second most successful and common play was "give it to Margot Hetzke in the lane, profit". She made a living around the basket on the offensive end, going in over and over again, ad nauseaum et ad infinitum. Siena's most successful play was "give the ball to Meghan Donohue in the lane, profit". She used her height very well against Iona, even though Iona had taller players to throw at her. She got on the boards well, too- even if she wasn't pulling down the board, she was tapping it out.

Siena played very determined defense. They, and everyone else in the universe, knew that the ball was going to Damika frequently and often, and they sent bigger defenders at her, forcing her to pass out because she didn't have enough space to shoot. That had to be exhausting, but they were yeomen (yeowomen?) about it. Gotta give them credit. Tehresa Coles was especially impressive on defense.

Philecia Gilmore brought a little offense in the second half, getting hot in a hurry- almost to a fault. Not that I normally disapprove of bench players going on hot runs, but I think everyone just wanted to get the damn record over with already, and here's Damika feeding the hot hand instead of being the hot hand. Cassidee Ranger came in briefly, hit a three, and rode off into the sunset. That's how she rolls. There's a reason we call her the Lone Ranger, and it's not just because she tends to be left alone in that corner. Aurellia Cammock brought a little bit of rebounding, but really needs to improve her positioning and her grip Getting the ball means diddly-squat if you can't hold on to it.

Karynda DuPree was even more passive than usual. She only jacked one stupid three, but of course, merely stared at it as it went off the rim. She didn't even try to get inside on either end of the floor, except for one block early. Use your height, Karynda! You have a BCS body- Y U NO USE IT?! Marina Lizarazu got some nifty little lay-ups and was throwing behind the back flip passes all day like she thought she was Ticha. She got careless sometimes, but she's still fun to watch when she's passing like that. Joy Adams hit the boards hard, but I'm a little worried about the number of falls she took today. They weren't necessarily hard falls, but if one of my players keeps hitting the floor for no good reason I'm going to worry about her. Check the sneakers or something. I don't know. Damika Martinez looked like she was hurting all day. I imagine that after this one she wanted to lock herself in the trainer's room and have intimate communion with an ice tub. I think the wear of the season's getting to her. She looks frustrated, and not happy, and it makes me sad. That's just the grind of it when you're chasing your own level of the big time, but I think she's lost some of her love for the game. She did her best to keep her teammates involved today, almost to her detriment- all of us in the stands were rooting for her to bring on the scoring onslaught- and she passed the ball. She passed well, and she rebounded well, and I like that for her future prospects somewhere, but at the same time, I come to Iona games mostly to watch her score. Just Here For Damika, as it were. That all being said, while Joy has her athletic freak of nature moments and Damika can score in all the ways, I think my favorite Gael has become Aaliyah Robinson. I love her toughness and tenacity, her willingness to rebound no matter who she's up against, her astonishing vertical, and her threes from the corner. If she were a little bit bigger I think she'd be at a BCS school and you would have heard a lot about her.

If Iona's going to shift to the Villanova-Creighton style of "shoot everything from behind the arc" and the Villanova-Rutgers style of "pound the ball for a while and run off the clock until people's eyes start to bleed", I'm going to have to reconsider my interest in this team. Stupid threes do not a successful offense make. Much like any superweapon, the three must be deployed at the proper time.

The officials today were a hot mess, and that's all I'm going to say about that, because I'm sure they're perfectly nice people in their ordinary lives.

Today was Girl Scout Day, as mentioned above, so there was an autograph session open to the Scouts in attendance. This is the first autograph session I've seen for Iona in, like, ever, and I was a little irked that it was supposed to be for Scouts only. Now, your intrepid blogger did have one loophole to leap through: you never stop being a Scout, after all, and I spent three years in Troop 4839 selling cookies, camping on weekends, earning merit badges, and learning important life skills such as laundry and putting down racist suburban girls. So we eventually steeled ourselves to join the mobscene on the court, since this was not the most organized session in the world. No tables, no lines, just wandering up to players who wielded Sharpies. The Gaels seemed nice enough, and Marina was tolerant of my conversational Spanish (fortunately, we didn't go much past "hi, how are you, thank you, good luck", because then I have to think about it). She took charge of organizing her teammates to make sure everyone got everyone. Joy messed with me a little bit. Yes, Joy, you're right, it's for the kids, but I did my time with the green sash. That's where I learned to be prepared, and why my clipboard always contains extras of everything.

Of course, by the end of the night, the poster was already torn, but that's what happens when you use flimsy paper.

That awkward moment when you make a joke about Karynda DuPree being photographed on the poster posting up, and it's the one time in the history of ever, and then someone starts repeating the joke to her teammates. I wanted to sink through the floor omg.

At least they won, but that was all kinds of ugly. No child should have had to witness that game. It's on to the McCann Center, and if Damika can't notch three points there, Iona might have bigger problems to deal with.