By Josh Veltrie
After losing to St. Peter’s 69-59 on Senior Night on Saturday, the Rider women’s basketball team went to Fairfield Monday night and defeated the No. 2 team in the conference 51-46.
The Broncs (10-18, 7-10 MAAC) were led by junior Amanda Sepulveda in the win against the Stags (17-11, 12-5 MAAC) with a 16-point, seven-rebound performance.
“Amanda is a solid point guard that expects to perform like she did,” said Head Coach Lynn Milligan. “She’s been playing 40 minutes a game lately and has been getting her teammates involved very well.”
Rider’s stifling defense helped it pull out a win; it was able to make Fairfield shoot 26 percent from the field, the worst shooting performance by a Bronc opponent all season. They also held the Stags to the second-lowest point total (46) by an opponent this year, displaying their best defensive performance of the season.
In the second half, the Broncs were able to make an 8-1 run to break a 32-32 tie, with four of those points coming from senior Shaunice Parker. The seven-point lead was the Broncs’ largest of the game and a lead they would not relinquish.
“We were able to play solid defense for 40 minutes, and we did a solid job defending their top scorers,” Milligan said. “The first time we played them, we played solid defense but were unable to sustain that level of defense the entire game.”
Also for Rider, junior Tammy Meyers scored 10 points while grabbing nine boards and Parker had a balanced game, contributing with four points, three rebounds and three assists.
“This was a big step forward for us, beating the No. 2 team in the conference on their home floor,” Milligan said. “It should give us a lot of confidence going into the MAAC tournament next week.”
In the 69-59 loss to the Peacocks (13-13, 10-7 MAAC), Sepulveda had another solid performance, scoring 15 points.
Despite being down 13 points in the second half, the Broncs were able to put together a 10-0 run to cut the lead to three. Meyers cashed in five points during the stretch. St. Peter’s then answered with its own 9-0 run, which took the life right out of Rider.
“We had too many defensive breakdowns and did not rebound well,” Milligan said.
For the Broncs, Meyers had 13 points and Parker, who was playing in her last game in Alumni Gym, was able to snatch nine boards. Along with Parker, fellow seniors Danielle Costantino and Maura Gillooly were also honored before the game.
“We were really focused on trying to send our seniors off with a win, but unfortunately, we just came up a little short,” Milligan said.
The Broncs now travel to Marist to play the Red Foxes (25-3, 15-2 MAAC) in the season finale; Marist is first in the MAAC and has already locked up the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
“The game this Saturday should be a good test to see where we are as a team before the conference tournament,” Milligan said. “It has been awhile since we played them the first time, so both teams have gotten a lot better.”
The matchup is at 7:30 p.m. at the McCann Center.