By Jake Tiger
In its final road contest of the season, a much-improved Rider women’s basketball team was forcefully struck down by the Manhattan Jaspers on March 2, heading home with a humbling 69-52 defeat.
All night long, the Broncs were tormented by the lightning-quick flash of finesse that was Manhattan guard Dee Dee Davis, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) preseason player of the year.
In the win, Davis finished with 26 points for Manhattan, while grabbing eight rebounds and five steals in a dominant display on both ends.
“It’s very easy to have bad games when you’re one-dimensional,” said Davis to ESPN after the game. “I want to get in people’s shorts, and I especially do well when people talk trash.”
Davis’ performance was punctuated by a sidestep, halfcourt heave at the end of the third quarter that banked in and sent the arena into a frenzy.
As her teammates swarmed her, Davis stood statue-esque on the emerald Manhattan logo at midcourt, staring down the Rider bench with a straight face.
Rider Head Coach Lynn Milligan began asking the officials for a taunting call on Davis, but in the process, had stepped out of the coaching box and was given a technical foul.
“I was [defending my players],” said Milligan. “I wanted to make sure that the referees saw the taunt because I didn’t think they did, and I came out too far.”
The officials did eventually go to the monitor to check for a possible taunting call, and after review, technical fouls were dealt to both Davis and Milligan for the altercation.
“Again, I do well when people talk trash, so I’ll leave it at that,” said Davis to ESPN when asked about the exchange.
As for Rider’s offense, junior forward Raphaela Toussaint saw the end of a 12-game streak of double-digit scoring, being held to four points on 2-of-10 shooting.
“I thought [Toussaint] was a little bit of a step slow tonight,” said Milligan. “[The Jaspers] were obviously aware of her, but I thought she got some good looks; she just didn’t make them.”
The Broncs’ attack seemed noticeably out of sync, with its trademark inside scoring being mostly absent. Opposite of Toussaint’s four points, senior center Victoria Toomey only managed three shot attempts, and ended the night with two points.
“[Toomey and Toussaint] never really got going,” said Milligan. “[Toomey] has been a little under the weather, so she didn’t really practice this week at all.”
Rider drops to 5-14 in conference play with the loss, and has just one game remaining before the MAAC Tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on March 7.
For their final game of the season, the Broncs welcome Marist to Alumni Gym on March 4, the team that just snapped top-seeded Iona’s 16-game win streak on March 2.
The game begins at 1 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN3.