Despite hanging on late in the game and a valiant effort by junior guard Cintella Spotwood, the women’s basketball team lost its home opener to the Seton Hall Pirates 63-49 on Friday night.
Spotwood had 14 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes of play, but it wasn’t enough to bring the Broncs to victory in front of the home court audience.
The game went back and forth, as the lead was passed between both teams a total of five times, before the Pirates closed out with a 12-2 run. Seton Hall led 48-40 with 9:50 remaining in the game, before Spotwood hit a clutch three and the Broncs went on a 5-0 run, which would be the closest Rider would get to a rally. The Pirates went up by 13 with three minutes left and never looked back.
Rider got some great play from its supporting cast, as sophomore center Sarah Homan had 13 points and seven rebounds, and senior Tammy Meyers added 10 points and three assists.
Head Coach Lynn Milligan was pleased with her team’s effort but would have liked to come out of the game with a win at home.
“The Seton Hall game was a solid opener for us,” she said. “We came up short on our goal of winning but played well overall.”
The game was close all the way through to the end as there were five lead changes, and the game was tied eight times. A closer look shows that turnovers and inadequate rebounding led to the Broncs’ demise.
The Broncs were out-rebounded by the Pirates 42-37, including a 20-10 difference in offensive rebounds. Rider also committed 25 turnovers, many directly leading to Pirates’ points. Milligan liked the way her team battled but thought the Broncs came up a bit short at the end of the game.
“The last 10 minutes, we struggled offensively, and Seton Hall responded,” Milligan said. “They went on an 8-0 run that we did not fully recover from.”
Rider attempted to bounce back from its loss to Seton Hall with a trip to Colgate Monday night in Hamilton, N.Y. Despite solid efforts from Meyers and senior Amanda Sepulveda, the team couldn’t break a late fourth quarter tie and fell to the Red Raiders 72-65.
Meyers had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Sepulveda added 15 points of her own.
The Broncs were trailing 27-19 just before halftime, when a 9-0 run ignited by Sepulveda and freshman Caitlin Bopp gave Rider a 28-27 lead going into the break.
Colgate jumped right back out of the gate with an 8-0 run to start the second half, and the two teams continuously exchanged the lead for the rest of the game. With 4:38 left, Rider hit a field goal to take the lead, 63-61. It would, however, be the last lead of the game for the Broncs, as Colgate went on a final run to close the game out 72-65.
Rider opened up its season last year against Seton Hall and Colgate, falling to the Pirates but defeating the Raiders.
Milligan was not sure that her team played up to its potential, which may have cost them an important road win.
“Colgate was our first road game of the year and we came up short,” she said. “They had an answer for everything we did. It was a game of runs and we were very up and down in our offensive and defensive execution.”
Rider out-rebounded Colgate 45-41, with 17 of them coming off the offensive glass. On the other hand, the Broncs committed 23 fouls and sent Colgate to the line 35 times, which equated to 22 points.
Milligan hopes her team can bounce back from consecutive losses and plans to get back on track in practice.
“We will need to work harder on a daily basis so we will be better prepared for our next road trip,” said Milligan.
Rider bounced back from the 0-2 start last night as they defeated Monmouth, 56-41. The Broncs will take on Fairleigh Dickinson Sunday at 2 p.m.
Rider will then move on to take part in the Florida Gulf Coast University Thanksgiving Classic in Fort Meyers, Fla. The team will start the tournament off against Akron on Nov. 27, at 5 p.m., followed by a game against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 28, at 7 p.m.
“Being a good road team I think is critical to a successful season,” said Milligan. “We have been solid on the road I think because we can be very focused.”