Broncs close out 2022 with resounding win

By Hannah Newman

Winning its first game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) this season, Rider Women’s Basketball refused to let the New Year’s Ball drop before dropping a conference win, taking home an 87-52 victory on Dec. 31 against Saint Peter’s, giving themselves immunity from defeat on the final day of the calendar year. 

“I am definitely happy that we could end this year with a win,” said graduate student guard Amanda Mobley. “I think that will definitely push us forward for the rest of our MAAC season as far as playing better, playing together and finishing out better than we started.”

The first quarter had a slow start with Saint Peter’s getting on the board first scoring a three-pointer, however the Broncs considered every shot made by Saint Peter’s a motive to heighten the stakes.

As the game spiraled out of an 8-8 tie with three minutes and 30 seconds left in the first quarter the Broncs made sure to secure the lead in that time frame, ending the first quarter 16-11.

With a beginning fueled with unity and the feeling of dissatisfaction of having a close score, the Broncs did not let a single second pass them by after junior guard Makayla Firebaugh converted what looked to be a foreshadowed foul into a layup with eight minutes and 30 seconds left in the quarter. The Broncs took control of the period with  junior forward ToniRenee Blanford scoring a layup on the tip of the clock’s end to the second quarter, giving the Broncs a 38-17 lead at the half.

With a history of poor shooting in their previous games defeat against Siena, the Broncs took the devastating result and turned it into motivation just in time to save their 2022 losing streak. 

Head Coach Lynn Milligan considered the greatest change from the Siena game to be a shift in mentality which contributed immensely to the result of the New Years Eve game. 

“I think it was a mindset, I think it started yesterday in practice. You know I don’t think anyone was really happy with our performance and how we played that second [half] with Siena and I think the team came out with the right mindset yesterday in practice,” Milligan said. “You know after a loss like that you want to show up and practice the next day and as a coach you want to kind of see it on their face like ‘okay they get it and now lets get better,’ and we got better yesterday. We came in with the right mindset, came up with a good game and executed [the] offense very well.” 

Each scoring player made at least 50% of their total field goals despite switching from zone defense to man-to-man in the beginning of the third quarter. This unmatched energy gave the Broncs the lead throughout the entirety of the game.

Mobley, who led the game in assists with 12 said credited the success to “just us being together for the entire game.” 

 “I think after our last few games we haven’t really been connected and haven’t really been playing together for real and I think today after our next day at practice we really started to figure things out so I think just being together was our big thing today. We had a good game but we paying attention to the score, we talked about it in the locker room before that this game we needed to come out and play together for 40 minutes and I think we did that,” she said. 

 Leaving behind 2022 and taking their win with them, the Broncs will take on Iona at home on Jan. 5 with high hopes that their win against Saint Peter’s will be the catalyst to success in 2023. The game will begin at 7 p.m. and will be steamed on ESPN+.

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