By Rob Rose
After finishing the 2016-17 campaign with a 24-9 overall record, Rider is off to a 0-6 start to begin this season. The Broncs have struggled on both sides of the floor, losing games by margins of 36, 27, 19 and 15.
The lone positive was that freshman guard Jaiden Morris won MAAC Rookie of the Week after averaging 12 ppg and three rebounds last week. Morris scored a career-high 17 points in the loss to Seton Hall and 14 points against East Carolina.
In its first contest of the week, Rider faced Lafayette.
The Broncs were held to 23 percent shooting from the floor and 17 percent from the three-point line.
Sophomore guard Stella Johnson recorded her first career double-double in the game, with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Broncs were held without a field goal for 11 minutes between the second and third quarters and watched an 11-point lead turn into a 14-point deficit.
“Obviously we didn’t start out defensively the way we wanted. Once we got our defense straightened out we couldn’t make a shot. We got the looks we wanted. We got the ball on the block and wide-open threes and they just didn’t drop,” said Head Coach Lynn Milligan.
The Leopards handed the Broncs their fourth straight loss of the season, 60-45.
On Nov. 25, in the first game of the Seton Hall Thanksgiving Tournament, Rider took on the in-state hosts.
Already trailing by 18 at halftime, Rider lost the third quarter 34-10 as the Pirates’ lead ballooned to 42 points. The Broncs would cut down the lead in the fourth quarter but ultimately lost to Seton Hall 85-49.
“Take away some of our open-floor turnovers and we make some shots and it’s a different game. We followed our game plan today which was to play as hard as we could for 40 minutes. We did that. Regardless of the score, we played hard,” said Milligan.
In the consolation game of the tournament, Rider met with East Carolina on Nov. 26.
The first half was tightly contested and the Pirates took a 30-26 lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter, Johnson scored nine points to give Rider the lead heading into the fourth quarter. Johnson is second on the team averaging 10.7 ppg this season.
East Carolina won the fourth quarter 25-20 and closed out a 66-63 victory over the Broncs. Senior guard Kamila Hoskova had a double-double in the contest, with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Johnson said, “We played great defense in the first half and we just stopped our principles in the second half. I feel like we were helping too far under
Next up for Rider is a 7 p.m. matchup against Vermont on Dec. 1 in Alumni Gym.