And then there was no tomorrow.
The credits rolled on the women’s basketball team’s flop of a season Thursday afternoon as seventh-seeded Saint Peter’s defeated Rider, 74-53, in the play-in round of the MAAC championships, played at Bridgeport, Conn.
Saint Peter’s (12-17 overall, 7-11 MAAC) trailed early before going on a 12-2 run to take a 17-9 lead with 8:49 left in the first half. It increased its lead to 13 points by intermission, and then clinched the game with a 9-2 run to take a commanding 46-26 lead with 15:36 left to play.
Junior forward Lauma Reke, who scored 21 points and tallied seven rebounds, led Saint Peter’s in both scoring and rebounding. Senior forward Elyse Siciliano added 14 points.
Saint Peter’s will play second-seeded Iona today. For Rider, the season ends on a bitter note.
“We rushed a lot of shots,” Assistant Head Coach Brian Johnson told Rider Sports Information. “We knew Saint Peter’s wanted us to shoot from outside, so we tried to establish an inside game and drive to the basket and we go impatient and I think it was more of what we did, not running through the offense, than what Saint Peter’s was able to do to us.”
Rider (2-28 overall, 1-17 MAAC) shot just 33 percent from the field for the game – 27 percent from three-point range – and was out-rebounded 44-34.
Freshman forward Ashley Anderson led all Rider scorers with a career-high 15 points, sophomore guard Shaunice Parker added 11 points, sophomore guard Maura Gillooly scored eight and junior guard Janele Henderson had seven.
“I realized the importance of the game,” Anderson told Rider Sports Information. “And I also realized that I could have and should have been playing like that all season. We just didn’t put it together as a team. The tournament was a good experience and I hope to build on the positives of today’s game going into next year.”
The game marked the end of the road for senior guard Kara Borel, who ends her stellar four-year career with 819 points and 728 rebounds. She ranks third all-time in school history in career rebounds and tied Carolyn Cook for first all-time in games played with 113.
Rider’s season began optimistically with a most-ever five six-footers on the roster, a lineup that seemed ideal given that Head Coach Tori Harrison is an inside-oriented coach. But youth and inexperience slowed the team, and as a result, their standings in the conference plummeted alarmingly midway through the season. Their two wins are the lowest the Broncs have tallied since 1963-64, when they played just seven games and went 2-5.
“The positive is that with mostly freshmen and sophomore on the roster, they now have a solid year under their belt and that’s going to make us better as a unit going into next season,” said Johnson.