By Rob Rose
After an 0-3 start to the season, the women’s basketball team picked up its first win of the campaign behind an unforgettable performance by junior guard Stella Johnson. In an 85-67 victory over Mount St. Mary’s, she posted the first triple-double in program history and totaled 35 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and added six steals.
The crowd erupted and rose to its feet as Stella Johnson connected for her 10th assist on a layup by junior guard Amari Johnson with 47 seconds left in the game. Stella Johnson received a standing ovation from the Alumni Gym crowd when she was removed from the game after she completed the triple-double.
“I didn’t know why everyone was screaming,” said Stella Johnson. “I thought everyone was screaming because it was our first win on the home court. It feels great.”
The Preseason All-MAAC First Team member orchestrated the Broncs’ offense from the opening seconds of the game. The 35 points and 10 assists were career-highs for Stella Johnson, while the 12 rebounds fell one shy of her career-best.
Rider dominated the game from the opening tip. Mount St. Mary’s only lead of the game, 2-0, lasted 11 seconds and Rider posted a season-high 85 points despite missing one of its key players.
The Broncs were without senior guard Lexi Posset who missed the game due to a hip injury. Posset, who was named to the Preseason All-MAAC Second Team, was second on the Broncs in points per game (ppg) and assists per game with 7.3 and 1.3, respectively.
“Right now she’s day-to-day,” said Head Coach Lynn Milligan. “She banged her hip up last week, but we’re optimistic.”
The Broncs got a season-best performance by another member of the backcourt to help replace Posset’s offensive production. Amari Johnson, who transferred to Rider after two seasons at Rhode Island, turned in the best game of her young Bronc career.
Amari Johnson posted career-highs in points and minutes with 28 and 38, respectively, and connected on four three-pointers. The 5-foot-10-inch guard was asked to help replace the 14.6 ppg lost with the graduation of guard Kamila Hoskova.
“This is definitely a confidence-booster that I needed from the last three games,” said Amari Johnson. “I was kind of in a rut and down on myself, but this is what I needed to get myself back up and know that this is what I need to do every game.”
Freshman guard Amanda Mobley filled in for Posset and got her first collegiate start. Mobley had been a contributor in her first three appearances of the bench, with an average of 5.7 ppg. Mobley tied her career-high in points with eight, and added three assists and a steal.
“I thought she did a good job,” said Milligan. “Freshman point guard is a pretty tough position, particularly with older players on the floor who know what’s going on.”
After an 0-3 start to the season, Rider wanted to end its early-season losing streak before it reached the 0-6 record the team opened last season with.
“We needed to get this monkey off our back,” said Milligan. “Last November was a struggle for us and we started off with a couple losses this year.”
Rider’s next game was Nov. 24 at St. Joseph’s at 12 p.m. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.
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