By Brandon Scalea
After being picked to finish near the bottom of the MAAC this season, the women’s basketball team is off to a solid start following a 78-72 win over Towson on Nov. 14, a win that required strong performances from several different players.
Junior guard Robin Perkins led the way offensively for Rider (1-0), picking up 18 points and six rebounds. Junior forward Yeliz Dogan also had a big night, with 15 points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocks.
Perkins said the win provided a huge confidence boost for the team.
“It means a lot for us to come out with the win in the season opener,” she said. “As a team, we know what we’re capable of. So for us to be predicted to finish last in the conference, it’s motivation for sure.”
Although the Broncs led most of the way, Towson jumped out to a commanding lead early in the first half. Shooting 60 percent from the field while draining four three-pointers, the Tigers were up 24-15.
The turning point for the Broncs, however, came with 8:02 remaining. With Rider leading 57-54, the team went on an 8-0 run, which featured five points from sophomore guard Kamila Hoskova. This pushed the lead to 65-54, and the Tigers never recovered. Hoskova was another one of four Broncs who scored in double-digits, as she finished with 13, shooting 5 for 7 from the field.
As the clock wound down, Towson (0-1) was able to cut the lead to 72-66 with 1:13 left. Shortly thereafter, the Broncs knocked down six free throws — three by senior guard Manon Pellet — to put the game out of reach. In 28 minutes of play, Pellet compiled six points, three assists, and three rebounds.
This wasn’t the first time in the game that the Broncs needed a run. Trailing 40-35 early in the second half, Rider used an 8-0 run to regain the lead. A big contributor to this run was junior center Julia Duggan, who recorded her fifth career double-double in the game with 13 points and 10 rebounds, four of which were offensive rebounds.
Duggan said that once her team was able to get going offensively, she was able to hit some big shots.
“Once we picked it up and got into a flow, it made it easier to score,” she said. “I got some wide open shots and the guards started to pump it into the lane to the post players and I feel like we finished well around the basket. That’s one thing our coaches harp on — getting good positioning for the post players and grabbing rebounds.”
It was the first time since 2012 that Rider was able to pick up a win in the season opener and it was the ninth win in 25 tries against Towson.
The Broncs will travel to St. Francis Brooklyn for another non-conference meeting on Nov. 18.