Broncs buried by Iona’s record-setting night

By Jake Tiger

On the night of Jan. 19, New Rochelle, New York, was home to new records, as Rider women’s basketball fell victim to the greatest shooting performance in Iona’s history.

The Gaels rained down hellfire on the Broncs’ turnstile perimeter defense, mounting a 90-62 triumph and handing a truly demoralizing loss to an already dejected band of Broncs.

“Credit to Iona for coming out and shooting the heck out of the ball,” said Head Coach Lynn Milligan. “I thought our defense was a little lacking as far as our principles. We gave up some of those easy buckets early, and I think it just kind of snowballed from there.”

In the win, Iona broke the NCAA Division I women’s basketball record for consecutive three-pointers made by sinking its first 15 attempts. The record was previously held by North Carolina State, who made 13 in-a-row in 2020.

The Gaels also raised the bar for three-point percentage in a game with at least 12 attempts, ultimately finishing the game with 88.9% (16-18) efficiency. The prior record was 81.3%, set by Creighton in 1992 and tied by Georgia Southern in 2000, both teams going 13-of-16 from three.

“Sometimes you just get a team that’s just playing really, really well, and Iona is playing really well right now. We were very prepared and ready to go tonight,” said Milligan. “Everybody was making threes for them–contested, uncontested, it really didn’t matter.”

Iona guard Kate Mager was arguably the largest contributor in the Gaels’ record-setting beatdown, as she connected on all five of her three-point attempts, including four in the first quarter. Mager currently ranks 10th in the nation in three-point percentage with 47.3%.

While the spotlight was certainly on Mager and the Gaels, junior forward Makayla Firebaugh kept pace with Iona for much of the first half. Firebaugh was a perfect 4-of-4 from three in the first half, but finished the game 5-of-6 in a 15-point outing.

However, Firebaugh had little help from her teammates, as the rest of the Broncs went 2-of-9 from three. Once again, Rider heads back to the drawing board off of a lackluster shooting performance.

“The sun comes up tomorrow,” said Milligan. “We get right back on the course. The biggest thing when you have a game like tonight is your response, and our response will be tomorrow in practice.”

At 2-7 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play with 11 games remaining, Rider’s response must be punctual and potent if it is to turn its season around. 

The Broncs next test is slated for Jan. 21, with fifth-place Fairfield visiting Alumni Gym for a 2 p.m. matinee. The contest will be streamed on ESPN+.

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