After only three games, women are able to tie last season’s win total
Sometimes you have to expect the unexpected.
After winning a mere two games last season, the women’s team has two wins in this young season.
After losing to Hofstra by over 30 points last season, the Broncs defense held the Pride down where it didn’t have a lead for the entire game.
Senior guard Jenele Henderson led the Broncs in scoring with 23 points shooting eight of 17 from the field. Junior Shaunice Parker had a ‘double-double’ leading Rider in rebounds with 14 to go along with her 13 points.
Junior guard Amanda Sepulveda had 15 points and freshman Shannon Ferguson grabbed 11 boards.
The team came out on top with a victory in their home opener as Head Coach Lynn Milligan made her Rider debut.
After winning only three home openers in the past 14 years, Rider (2-1) got off to a fresh start with a 59-46 win over Monmouth (0-2) on Nov. 9.
“I think it says a lot about who we are and a lot about the hard work the team has done over the past six months,” said Milligan. “I think the effort they’ve put in, they have been rewarded for. They are learning the harder you work the more success you’re going to have.”
Rider started off with a 9-2 lead over the Hawks, five of those being Henderson’s, and continued to build its lead to 19-6 midway through the first half. The Broncs went on an 8-4 run to maintain the lead and held it at 33-23 going into the half, with 14 points by Henderson.
The Broncs held on to the momentum going into the second half as they outscored the Hawks 11-5 within the first four minutes of play, putting them at 44-28. Monmouth attempted to answer with a 9-2 run, but Rider was able to shut them down to clinch the win.
“Maintaining the lead throughout the game was good,” Milligan said. “I think it was something new to them as far as being in the lead and holding the lead. We had our rough spots; we had way too many turnovers but we were able to recompose and I think a lot of that came down to our senior leadership with [Henderson] and [Kelli Sawyer].”
Henderson earned a career-high 25 points to assist Rider in its win. Parker collected her third career “double double” with 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, seven in the first seven minutes of the game. Sawyer also added 10 points with five assists.
In Rider’s victory, the team created 24 turnovers, with six steals by Sawyer. The Broncs out-rebounded the Hawks 52-35.
“Defense and rebounding is what we have been building the whole foundation on,” Milligan said.
After obtaining their first win of the season, Rider fell to the University of Baltimore County (UMBC) 58-53 in the last minute of play.
“We let one get away,” said Milligan. “It was a game we felt we should have won and the kids were upset that they lost and angry with the loss.”
UMBC started off with a 16-3 lead before Rider answered with an 8-3 run, all eight points by Henderson.
After the half, Meyers hit the first three of the game, giving Rider the lead. After a 12-3 run, Rider pulled ahead 44-39 with eight minutes left.
Sophomore Tammy Meyers hit a clutch3-pointer to put the Broncs up 53-52 before UMBC answered with a 3-pointer to earn the lead and sealed it with three free throws to insure a Retriever win.
“They can take away that we do have the ability and the character and the know-how to come back when a team jumps on as quickly as UMBC did,” Milligan said. “I think that’s going to help them if we get into that situation again, that we will be able to come back and that we’re never out of it. Then if we’re in the situation where we’re in a tied game with three minutes left, we’ll be able to make better decisions.”
Henderson played the entire game, compiling 19 points with a circus 3-pointer from 26 feet away to beat the shot clock. Meyers added 16 points while going 4-4 from the line. Parker included eight points with 10 rebounds in her second double-digit rebound effort of the season.
Sawyer had five assists with three steals in 18 minutes of play before twisting her ankle, putting her on the side lines until next week.
Rider’s defense forced 21 turnovers, their second game in a row causing over 20 turnovers.
“I think the overall confidence that they are starting to develop on the defensive end and with the rebounding is going to parlay into our confidence so that they are able to compete with anybody,” said Milligan.