By Carlos Toro and Brandon Scalea
Despite the snowfall, the women’s basketball team snapped its cold streak with its first win in the last six games.
Although the Broncs (5-18, 2-12 MAAC) fell to the MAAC’s top team, Iona, by a score of 67-48 on Feb. 7, they travelled to Saint Peter’s on Feb. 9 and won with a last-second shot, thanks to sophomore guard Kamila Hoskova’s layup.
According to junior center Julia Duggan, Rider believes that it is playing a lot better, as exemplified by the win against Saint Peter’s — who entered the game against Rider with just two conference wins.
“As of late, we have been playing more like a team, running and executing plays in the post,” Duggan said. “We have been playing a lot stronger on the other team’s post and making sure teams don’t get as many rebounds as I have been in the past.”
Iona’s (16-9, 12-2 MAAC) defense stuffed Rider’s offense in the first quarter. After Duggan and junior guard Robin Perkins each made a field goal within the first four minutes, the Broncs did not make a single field goal, with a Perkins free throw being the only scoring Rider could muster.
The Gaels only kept increasing their lead, starting the second quarter winning by 15 and headed into halftime with a 38-16 lead.
The third quarter wasn’t any better for Rider, as it could not get itself within distance of Iona’s lead, only able to mount a 4-0 scoring run. Iona finished the third quarter strong, scoring the period’s last five points.
Already with a comfortable lead, the Gaels left an impression at Alumni Gym, extending the lead to 26 points when Iona junior guard Marina Lizarazu made a couple of free throws with 7:01 remaining in the game.
Rider could not put forth any offense in the first half, shooting less than 20 percent from the field and going 1-for-6 from the three-point line.
Perkins, who is the Broncs’ leading scorer with more than 14 ppg, had a rough day shooting, making only five shots of 19 attempts.
The team needed a win to right the ship on a mostly disappointing season, but it had to travel to Saint Peter’s (4-19, 2-12 MAAC) to do so.
Rider opened the first quarter leading 7-4. The team made half of its field goals in the opening 10 minutes, while holding the Peacocks to just 10 points on less than 41 percent shooting from the field.
Perkins then took the game into her own hands in the second quarter when she scored 10 points, including eight of the last 10 for the Broncs. They went into halftime trailing by just one point.
Perkins then eclipsed 20 points when she made a three-pointer with 3:04 remaining in the third quarter. The Willingboro, New Jersey native had 12 points in the third quarter as Rider held Saint Peter’s to under 50 percent shooting from the field.
“Our guards have been shooting a lot better from the three in my opinion,” Duggan said.
But the Peacocks finished the third quarter strong with freshman guard Janelle Mullen making a layup with 30 seconds remaing to give Saint Peter’s a 52-50 lead heading into the final quarter.
Rider retook the lead with less than two-and-a-half minutes remaining when freshman guard Lexi Posset made a layup to give the Broncs a 62-61 advantage.
But Saint Peter’s refused to go down as sophomore guard Talah Hughes made a jumper with just seven seconds remaining.
The Broncs capitalized on that small window of time when Perkins missed a layup, but Hoskova grabbed the offensive rebound and made the game-winning shot with just 0.1 seconds remaining.
Rider will now look to capitalize on the momentum after beating Saint Peter’s when it takes on conference foes Canisius (9-14, 4-10 MAAC) and Niagara (6-17, 4-10 MAAC) on the road on Feb. 12 and 14.