Basketball Blog: Heller suffers heartbreaking and season-ending injury

Senior sharpshooter Ali Heller tore her ACL last week against Iona.

By Michael O’Brien

It’s the last thing any senior basketball player wants to have; an injury so devastating that not only ends your season, but most likely your playing career, and that unfortunately happened to star senior Ali Heller.

On Friday, Jan. 13, Heller suffered a torn ACL in a game against Iona. She is not the first player on this team to suffer that same injury. Fellow senior Alyssa Parsons missed her sophomore season because of a torn ACL and junior Shereen Lightbourne is sitting out the whole season with the same injury as she suffered it in September.

Though it appears that Heller’s Rider career might be over, you can’t underestimate how she consistently shot the ball, particularly from three-point range. She will most likely go down as one of Rider’s most consistent three-point shooters in program history.

The loss of Heller hurt the women’s team this past week as the Broncs dropped two more MAAC games to Saint Peter’s at home on Alumni Day, and most recently to conference powerhouse Marist on Wednesday night.

Against Marist, sophomore MyNeshia McKenzie led the way with 17 points, yet the team averaged only 33 percent shooting from the field. Head Coach Lynn Milligan will certainly have her work cut out as the Broncs have now dropped three straight and are coming up on a four-game road trip which will play a big factor in the standings as the MAAC season reaches its halfway point.

Rider has players that can pick up what Heller contributed during the season. For example, juniors Carleigh Brown and Sironda Chambers have both played well since moving into the starting lineup and McKenzie has been a strong contributor coming off the bench, a role that Heller played most of this season.

Before the Broncs begin their road trip, the team will welcome back the students to campus as they take on Siena at 1 p.m. Sunday at Alumni Gym as a part of a doubleheader with the men’s team.

It would no doubt be a strong confidence booster for the team to get a win at home in the Broncs’ Zoo in front of the student body before facing their demanding road trip.

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