Hard work pays dividends on the hardwood
By Maria Eldridge
Tenacity gave the Broncs the edge they needed to beat Stony Brook (1-6) Tuesday night, 53-41. It was clear the Broncs were playing with a chip on their shoulder after previously dropping a game against nationally ranked Georgetown.
The Seawolves played a gritty game, which the Broncs capitalized on and gained control quickly. With off-balance shots ricocheting off the backboard, Rider wasn’t afraid to sharpen their elbows and box out for rebounds.
“We knew we had to get stops on the defensive end,” junior Carleigh Brown said. “I think we did a very good job of forcing them to take shots they weren’t ready to shoot and boxed out well to eliminate second chances.”
Eliminating those second chances was key to holding the Seawolves to 41 points, as they struggled to get shots up. The Broncs are playing with a new fire in their belly, determined to leave it all on the court.
“This is our year to really show all the hard work we’ve been putting into practice and [we] have a lot of revenge games to play,” Brown said.
Sophomore MyNeshia McKenzie drained 11 points for the Broncs, while also grabbing 15 rebounds. Brown also was in double-digits with 13 points and six rebounds.
The win against Stony Brook gives the Broncs a 4-3 record, putting them above the .500 mark at this point in the season for the first time in over four seasons. However, the Broncs aren’t jaded and know they have a long season ahead of them.
“Our record is just a number,” Brown said. “It feels good to have wins, but we can’t worry about the past and have to just think about what’s coming next.”
The next stop for the Broncs is Newark, N.J., where they will go head-to-head Sunday afternoon with NJIT (5-5). Rider is gearing up for what they think will be a race to the hoop.
“The NJIT game could be more of an offensive game based on the way they like to play,” Head Coach Lynn Milligan said. “We both want to get the ball up and down the floor, so whichever team can control pace and execute its offense will be successful.”
The Broncs will be trying to maintain their focus, not letting their emotions get the best of them.
“We do not allow ourselves to get too low or too high,“ Milligan said. “We want to be balanced throughout the season and take each day, practice and game as it comes.”
As a veteran team, Rider is confident that its hard work and depth will carry the team to success this season.
“We have a great group of seniors that understand what it is going to take to continue to be successful,“ Milligan said. “Our underclassmen are all a year older and have all played significant minutes this year and last, so they are game tested.”