By Cord Stasolla
The women’s basketball team overcame every obstacle that it encountered last Sunday, snapping an 11-game losing streak with a 54-46 win over Manhattan.
With a starting line-up consisting of three freshmen — Carleigh Brown, Dior Brown, and the MAAC Rookie of the Week four of the last five weeks, Caitlin Bopp — the team came out strong.
Bopp won the tipoff for the Broncs (3-18 overall, 1-9 MAAC), and the team scored the first two points of the game. Led by senior Amanda Sepulveda and junior Cintella Spotwood and backed by plenty of freshman talent, the team led 15-9 halfway through the first half.
Although the game was tied at 27 at halftime, the Broncs came charging out of the locker room and went on a 13-1 run that lasted 11 minutes into the second half. The Jaspers (10-11 overall, 5-5 MAAC) failed to convert a field goal attempt until that point.
A run in the final minutes of play proved to be a case of “too little too late” for Manhattan as Rider won the hard-fought match. Rider’s success in the second half determined the outcome of the game, with the team outscoring Manhattan 27-19 after shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc in the first half.
“It feels great to avenge the loss [against Manhattan],” said Sepulveda, who played 38 minutes and scored eight points. “Any loss you can bounce back from shows character.”
Bopp finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds, eight of which were offensive. Spotwood finished with 17 points and Brown brought down 10 rebounds for the Broncs.
Sepulveda scored her 1,000th point last week in a game against Iona, and said she has been able to direct the team, something that her coach told her to do.
“This win put a lot of confidence in the team,” she said. “With my leadership we should have more wins by the end of the season.”
Even with the loss of star senior Tammy Meyers, who led the team in scoring, assists, steals, field goals made and free throws made, Rider was able to come away with a big and much-needed win. In fact, the last time Rider snapped an 11-game losing streak was last year, when the team went on to win eight of its last 16 games and finish 10-20 overall.
“The girls are always playing hard, but now that they see we can win, the rest of the season they’re going to work extra hard to [make sure we continue to win],” Sepulveda said.
Rider looks to win back-to-back games for the first time this year against Niagara tomorrow, as the team plays its next three contests on the road.