BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Aaliyah Parker hit the statistical jackpot in Atlantic City.
Parker produced the first triple-double in Niagara women’s basketball team history Wednesday with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 steals during a 67-64 win against Rider in the quarterfinal round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.
One of five alumnae of nearby Cardinal O’Hara High School on the Purple Eagles’ roster, Parker made the All-MAAC team in her sophomore season, alongside her sister, senior guard Angel Parker.
With Aaliyah Parker averaging 17 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 steals, and Angel Parker averaging 14.6 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.1 steals, the Purple Eagles posted their all-time best MAAC record (16-4) and entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed.
Niagara (18-11), which plays Manhattan in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Friday, has never won the MAAC tournament, and only once before reached the championship game in 1997.
Aaliyah Parker’s 11 steals in the quarterfinal win matched the Niagara record that Angel Parker set in an overtime win against Saint Peter’s last February while leading the country in steals. This season, Aaliyah Parker ranks second nationally in steals, Angel Parker is in the top 10, and teammate Nickelle O’Neil, an O’Hara grad, is just outside the top 20. The Purple Eagles as a team lead the nation in steals (15.4 per game) and forcing turnovers (28.6).
Niagara is the only one of Western New York’s Division I women’s basketball advancing in March.
Buffalo (12-16) lost 75-74 in overtime against top-seeded Toledo on Wednesday at the Mid-American Conference tournament in Cleveland. The valiant effort in the MAC quarterfinal came after the Bulls rallied to win three in a row at the end of the regular season and qualify for the tournament as the No. 8 seed under first-year coach Becky Burke.
St. Bonaventure (6-26) ended its season with a 70-51 loss at Davidson in an Atlantic 10 tournament play-in game. Canisius (9-21) lost 54-41 against Mount St. Mary’s in a MAAC pre-quarterfinal game Tuesday in Atlantic City.
The men’s basketball teams from St. Bonaventure and Canisius were more competitive, but had similar season-ending defeats. Bona (14-18) lost 65-54 against Dayton in the opening round of the Atlantic 10 tournament in Brooklyn, and Canisius (10-20) lost 65-64 in overtime against Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday night in Atlantic City.
Niagara’s men (15-14) are the No. 5 seeded in the MAAC tournament and meet Siena in the quarterfinals at 9:30 p.m. Thursday night, while UB (15-16), seeded sixth takes on defending champion Akron at 6:30 p.m. in the MAC quarterfinals. Both games will be streamed on ESPN+.
Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.