By Christopher Brooks
Alumni Gym celebrated the careers of three seniors on Feb. 21: guard MyNeshia McKenzie, guard Shereen Lightbourne and guard Alicia Hall. Unfortunately for the Broncs and the crowd, it was a night of disappointment as Rider fell to Marist, 79-51.
Lightbourne led the way for the Broncs (13-14, 9-9 MAAC), scoring 11 points and grabbing a season-high seven boards. McKenzie, who has averaged 19.6 ppg and 11.2 rpg this season, had a mediocre Senior Day, compiling only six points and seven rebounds.
With the game tied 2-2, Marist senior guard Casey Dulin had a 3-point play that put the Red Foxes in the lead for good. The Broncs committed 16 turnovers which led to 21 Marist points.
Head Coach Lynn Milligan felt the team underperformed against Marist (22-6, 16-2 MAAC), a team that was on a three-game winning streak.
“Senior night is always a special night so it was disappointing not to win for MyNeshia, Shereen and Alicia,” Milligan said. “We ran into a team playing very well and we didn’t play to our best capabilities. The seniors know it will not be about just one game but their entire four years, which was an incredible time for them.”
Unfortunately for the Broncs, it was the Marist seniors that shined the brightest on the Bronc’s Senior Night. Dulin had a game-high 19 points and added five assists. Also for the Red Foxes, senior forward Emma O’Connor scored 16 points, grabbed nine boards and had six assists.
Freshman center Julia Duggan and sophomore guard Manon Pellet picked up some slack for the Broncs, both scoring eight points. Pellet, like Milligan, was upset the Broncs could not pick up a victory for their departing players.
“We definitely are disappointed that we did not show our best on such a special day for our seniors,” she said.
A few days earlier, on Feb. 19, the Broncs had a stronger performance, defeating Monmouth, 74-64.
McKenzie totaled 23 points and 15 rebounds, securing her 41st career double-double. Sophomore guard Mikal Johnson finished with 13 points and four assists. The Broncs were on-point from beyond the arc, sinking nine of 15 3-pointers, tying a season high.
Rider will wrap up its regular season with two away games against Niagara (9-18, 7-11 MAAC) on Feb. 28 and Canisius (11-16, 7-11 MAAC) on Mar. 2. The Broncs defeated Niagara 82-72 in their first meeting on Feb. 9, but were defeated by Canisius 76-72 on Jan. 12.
Milligan stressed that the remaining games are very crucial to the remainder of the season.
“Our final two games are on the road, so it will be important to play well,” she said. “We will have some time in practice to regroup, rest and prepare. We will need everyone to step up and play well together for us to finish the season strong. We are excited for these last few weeks.”
With the MAAC Championship right around the corner, on Mar. 6, Pellet believes the Broncs will be able to finish the season strong, giving them momentum for the tournament.
“It is very important that we finish with two wins on this last away trip, which we are more than capable of,” Pellet said. “It would put us in a good place for the MAAC tournament.”