Daija Moses provides bench spark despite loss to Marist

By Dylan Manfre

Rider vs Marist Game 1

By Dylan Manfre

Two of the more youthful teams in the league relied on their seniors to keep it competitive in the latter minutes of the game. 

Rider’s lone senior in center Daija Moses had a key steal with 5:00 remaining in regulation which preserved a 42-39 lead.

What followed was a big 3-pointer from Marist senior guard Allie Best who on the ensuing possession found Kendall Krick in transition, giving the Red Foxes a one-point lead with 3:09 left in regulation. 

Moses’ 13 points off the bench along with her seven rebounds was a big factor in Rider gaining momentum despite a 47-46 loss on Feb. 7. She had potentially a game-winning opportunity as time wound down with a floater on Marist’s Willow Duffell but Moses said she was looking more to draw a foul.

“I felt like something needed to be done,” Moses said on the shot attempt. “It wasn’t how I wanted it to go.”

Marist opened up the game on a 9-0 run and the Broncs were 0-for-5 from the field. While the Red Foxes were terrorizing Rider’s defense, Moses was sitting on the bench noticing the energy was nowhere near where it should have been.

“When I was sitting, I was like ‘OK our energy is off,’” said Moses who has come off the bench in the last four games. “We were not running the floor, we were letting them get a little faster.”

Rider Head Coach Lynn Milligan said Moses is fine with her new role.

“She definitely embracing coming off the bench and giving us that spark,” Milligan said. “There’s no doubt about that, she did that again today. In February, seniors are supposed to step up and get things done. And she’s doing that and we expect her to keep doing it.”

Moses entered the game desperate to contribute after being out of the starting lineup for the last four games. She came in at the 4:47 mark of the first quarter and eliminated the early Marist run with a 15-2 stretch where she had six of those 15 on 3-of-5 shooting from the field. 

The much-needed run came after the whistle was blown for the first quarter media timeout and the conversation set the tone.

“Our defenses had a couple of lapses early,” Milligan said. “We gave them some looks that they like and then offensively we just weren’t in flow yet. We just weren’t getting the looks we wanted.”

Defensively, Milligan was pleased with what the Broncs did in the opening half. They held the league’s top offense to shoot 21.4% in the first half as Marsit only scored 14 points at halftime and four in the second quarter. Star freshman Caitlin Weimar, who has won five MAAC Player of the Week awards, had two points on 1-of-7 shooting at the break. She ended the game with a big defensive stop on Moses, whose floater could have gone in had Weimar not been in the paint.

Both team’s found their offense in the third quarter as they shot a combined 37% from the field. Rider and Marist scored more points in the third quarter than they did the entire first half. Duffell had 15 of her team’s 33 points after 30 minutes of action and Rider scored 17 points on 5 of 12.

“[Duffell is] a tough guard. You know, she’s expanded her game this year a little bit by putting it on the floor so she does a good job,” Milligan said. “Our plan was to try to take away some of her strengths. But, you know, I think we made her buckets hard for her, but she also stepped up and made some big shots for them.”

This was Marist’s first game back from a pause to basketball activities because of a positive COVID-19 case in Niagara’s tier 1 program. The Purple Eagles faced the Red Foxes in its last series on Jan. 22 and 23.

Rider and Marist will wrap up the series on Feb. 8 at 5 p.m.

Follow Dylan Manfre on Twitter for the latest on the women’s basketball team/

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