By Josh Veltrie
The Rider women’s basketball team saw its season end in a first-round game that described its year as a whole: inconsistent. The Broncs lost to Saint Peter’s 57-47 in the first round of the MAAC Tournament Thursday.
Rider finished the season with a 5-25 overall record, with all five of its wins coming in conference, giving it a 5-13 mark in the MAAC.
“This season showed a lot of this team’s growth,” said sophomore Carleigh Brown. “We had a rough start but we were able to figure a lot of things out and began playing to our abilities.”
The Broncs jumped out to an early 18-9 lead in the first half as they were shooting the ball well from beyond the three-point arc. Redshirt sophomore Alyssa Parsons and freshman Myneshia McKenzie had a three pointer while freshman Shereen Lightbourne hit two threes to give Rider a nine-point lead.
Over the last two minutes of the first half, however, Saint Peter’s managed to score nine points while holding the Broncs scoreless to take a 22-18 advantage into halftime. The Broncs managed to get up only two shots during the run, turning the ball over on their last three possessions of the half.
At the start of the second half the Broncs were able to keep within striking distance for the most part, but a combination of turnovers and missed shots helped Saint Peter’s slowly build a double-digit lead with 10 minutes left in the game.
The closest Rider would get in the last 10 minutes of the game was six points, when Saint Peter’s held a 39-33 lead. The Peahens managed to build it back up to 10 points with a 8-2 spurt and the Broncs would not be able to get closer then nine during the final five minutes leading to a final score of 57-47.
“We kept playing hard but we just struggled to finish,” Brown said.
Statistically the game was even in almost every category but field goal percentage. Both teams attempted 55 shots, but Rider only made 15 compared to Saint Peter’s 22. Both teams had 20 plus turnovers, shot around 70 percent from the charity stripe and Rider was outrebounded by only one board.
McKenzie continued her stellar play with 15 points and 8 rebounds in the loss. McKenzie was recently named to the All-MAAC Rookie team while teammate, Ali Heller, a junior was named Sixth Man of the Year for the MAAC. McKenzie struggled from the field, only making three of her 14 shots but converted on eight of her 10 free throws.
Lightbourne was the only other Bronc in double figures, dropping in 10 points while grabbing six rebounds.
The future is bright for the Broncs. There are no seniors on the roster so this team will head into next season with the same team.
“Since we have every girl coming back, we decided to look at this season not as an ending but a preface as to what we can do next,” Brown said.