By Corey Donetz
The women’s basketball team went on the road last Friday to take on the red hot Red Foxes of Marist. Marist came into the game with a 20-6 overall record and a 12-2 MAAC record, the best in the conference. The Red Foxes continued to defend that mark by defeating Rider 84-39. The Broncs followed up the tough game with a three-point heartbreaking home loss to Loyola (MD), 68-65.
Marist started off the game on a 9-0 run before the Broncs fought back to make it 11-7. Unfortunately for the Broncs, that was the closest they came to taking a lead in the game. Marist followed Rider’s surge with another run of its own to make the score 24-7, finishing out the first half strong, by leading 43-16.
“Marist was a tough game for us,” Head Coach Lynn Milligan said. “They play very well at home and were coming off a rare loss. We did not respond well defensively early and could not answer offensively.”
Although Rider came out in the second half with more intensity, Marist was just too much to handle. Senior Amanda Sepulveda led the Broncs with 12 points as fellow senior Stephanie Wisniewski led the team with seven rebounds in the loss.
After three road games, the Broncs returned to their home court on Sunday to take on the Greyhounds of Loyola, who are 10-15 overall this season and 6-8 in the MAAC.
Freshman Caitlin Bopp led the Broncs with 15 points and 14 rebounds in the nail-biting defeat. Bopp’s eighth double-double of the season comes after missing two games and playing limited time in the loss against Marist due to injury.
“Caitlin brings so much intensity and hard work to our team,” Milligan said. “She is an obvious presence for us in the paint and there is a difference when she is out of the lineup. Cait has had an outstanding season thus far. I know she is not satisfied and has a terrific work ethic to be the best. It is a contagious attitude that we need to move forward not only this season but beyond.”
Bopp felt good about getting back on the court.
“It felt great to finally be back to playing again,” she said. “Unfortunately, I’m still not 100 percent back to where I was before being injured but I’m just happy to be playing.”
Loyola jumped out to a quick lead to start the game and controlled most of the first 20 minutes, until the end when the Broncs finished on a 7-0 run to close the half only trailing by four.
The Broncs stayed close in the second half and outrebounded the Greyhounds by 16, but two turnovers ended up costing them the game. Rider turned the ball over 17 times including five untimely turnovers in the last four minutes of the game. Sepulveda had 15 points and eight rebounds as junior Cintella Spotwood and sophomore Sarah Homan added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
“We will continue to work hard and improve everyday,” Milligan said. “We have four regular season games before the MAAC Tournament and want to win them all. We understand what it will take to achieve that goal. We are focused on the next game.”
Rider returns to Alumni Gym tonight to take on the Peacocks of St. Peter’s at 7 p.m.
“We have to believe in one another and put in the work,” said Sepulveda.
By Corey Donetz