By Mike Ricchione and Dominick DeRosa
The women’s basketball team sits only one game back of third place in the MAAC standings after a split week against Manhattan on Feb. 1 and on the road against Monmouth on Feb. 3.
Rider was shorthanded during this stretch as sophomore forward Aubre Johnson was out with a lower body injury.
“She’ll be day-to-day right now,” Head Coach Lynn Milligan said after the game. “We’ll just try to get her back as soon as we can.”
Rider started out slow in the first quarter as they were being outrebounded 12-8, which led to seven second-chance points by the Jaspers.
Rider picked up the pace as it closed out the second half on an 11-0 run, taking a 30-26 lead, including two big threes from senior guard Kamila Hoskova.
From there, Rider never looked back.
Rider played solid defense to hold Manhattan at bay, while on offense they shot 54 percent from the field including 83 percent from three. The Broncs won, 67-51.
“For us to play well tonight was a big thing with Code Cranberry and all the other student-athletes [in attendance.] I think it gave us a nice push,” Milligan said after the win.
Top performers included sophomore guard Stella Johnson, who recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds in 39 minutes of action.
Junior guard Lexi Posset had 15 points, all in the second half, going 6-for-11 from the field and 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.
Hoskova led all scorers in the contest, putting up 22 points while still recovering from a broken nose.
Posset said, “When Kam went down, and then she got surgery the day after the game and then played the next one, that’s just something only Kam would do.”
The Broncs played again Feb. 3 against in-state rival Monmouth. The start of this game, however, was much slower and prolonged as they were outplayed in all aspects during the first quarter.
They were outrebounded 13-10 and only shot 18 percent from the field as the Hawks jumped out to a commanding 16-point lead.
Rider played a little better in the second quarter but still found themselves down 13 come halftime.
The Broncs didn’t quit, however; they were getting turnovers and even outscored the Hawks by six in the second half.
Rider trimmed Monmouth’s lead to nine by the end of the third quarter but could not take advantage in the end as they squandered several opportunities to tie or take the lead in the game.
The Hawks were strong off the glass beating Rider 50-35, including 17 offensive boards to help them secure their lead in the game’s final minutes.
Johnson led the Broncs with 18 points while shooting 7-10 from the field.
Freshman guard Jaiden Morris lifted Rider on the defensive end, picking up six steals.
Fourth-place Rider currently stands at 6-6 in the MAAC and is 9-14 overall. The team’s next game is Feb. 9 against St. Peter’s.