By Carlos Toro
Senior guard Robin Perkins’ game-winning, three-point shot against Saint Peter’s was only the first of several razor-close wins for the women’s basketball team this season.
The Broncs (17-6, 11-3 MAAC) defeated Monmouth and Siena, both games decided on the final play of the game. Rider defeated Monmouth, after Perkins made two free throws with only 3.7 seconds remaining, and junior guard Kamila Hoskova made the game-winning layup against Siena with about 13 seconds left.
Rider Head Coach Lynn Milligan said the team was able to achieve its current four-game win streak thanks to its chemistry and the presence of multiple players that can make the game-winning plays.
“When you’re in tight games like these at the end of this season and you’re able to come out on top, you execute your offense the way you want it to, get the person the shot they can make and we had a different play at the end of the past three games,” Milligan said. “It’s all about execution, trusting in our teammates. There’s a belief that if there is time on the clock, then we have a chance to win.”
Rider traveled to Monmouth on Feb. 2, and the Hawks got off to a strong start, scoring 20 points in the first quarter, including a 12-0 run. Rider eventually scraped at Monmouth’s lead, closing the gap to just two points at halftime. The Broncs capitalized on Hawk mistakes, scoring 11 points off of turnovers in the second quarter.
After the halftime break was over, Rider tied the game thanks to a layup from senior center Julia Duggan. However, Monmouth then showed off its deep range, making three three-pointers in two minutes to take a quick 10-point lead. The Hawks headed into the fourth quarter with an 8-point lead.
The Broncs once again made a big comeback within the final minutes, tying the game 69-69. Perkins was fouled with four seconds remaining and made both free throws to give Rider the 71-69 victory.
Rider returned for a home game on Feb. 4 against Siena. It took a career-day for Hoskova to help propel the Broncs to a win.
After a close first quarter, Rider had a 20-point second quarter to give itself a 5-point lead at halftime.
Rider extended its lead to double digits throughout the third quarter, beginning with a three-pointer made by freshman guard Stella Johnson. A Siena layup at the end of the quarter weakened the lead to an eight-point advantage.
That layup started a 7-0 run for the Saints that brought the team back into the game. Siena managed to tie the game up at 70-70, but Hoskova, who scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for her first career double-double, sunk a layup with 13 seconds remaining. The Broncs defense held off Siena long enough to get the home win. Hoskova said it felt good having a big performance in a late-season conference game.
“I like that we are winning in February,” Hoskova said. “It felt great playing well and winning games.”
Rider has six games remaining in the regular season. The Broncs face Iona on the road on Feb. 10 and then host Canisius on Feb. 12. That game will be the first of four straight home games, with the second home game being against Marist on Feb. 14.