The women’s basketball team fell to Towson, 74-68, in its first home loss of the season before starting conference play for the year.
Rider (3-4 overall) jumped to an early lead, 15-7, in the first five minutes of play, with seven points by sophomore Tammy Meyers.
“I think the girls are always ready to play when the game starts,” Head Coach Lynn Milligan said. “I think they’ve done pretty well in knowing what’s coming, and there are not a lot of surprises with what the other team is going to do. It’s maintaining that intensity and that level for 40 minutes, and then when the game gets tight being able to close it out.”
After falling behind 24-22, the Broncs went on a 13-4 run, with seven points from freshman Cintella Spotwood. Rider led a close game at the half, 35-32.
The Broncs started the second half leading 39-32 before Towson (3-2 overall) had a 10-2 run, giving the Tigers a 42-41 lead. When the Broncs regained the lead with nine minutes to go, Towson scored nine unanswered points and put Rider behind 53-46.
With seven minutes to go, the Broncs replied with a 10-1 run, as Spotwood tied the score at 54 with a three-point shot.
After the 11th lead change, Towson went on an eight point run with no response from the Broncs, taking the final lead with 20 seconds remaining in play to clinch a Towson win.
“We’re continuing to work on our special situations,” Milligan said. “All seven of our games this year have been within eight and six points, pretty much, and we’ve been continuing to work on being able to close them out. Some games we have, some games we haven’t, but that inconsistency of being able to win close games is something we will continue to work on.”
Senior Janele Henderson finished with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists while scoring 20 points for the third time this season.
“We had some great senior leadership from Janele, who struggled early but then stepped up to carry us through the second half,” Milligan said.
Spotwood added 10 points with four offensive rebounds while Meyers finished with nine points. Junior Shaunice Parker added 12 points with seven rebounds, and senior Kelli Sawyer had five points, seven assists and four rebounds.
“We’ve improved greatly,” Milligan said. “Every thing that we’ve done in the past six months has been positive. We’ve taken great strides, and we’re moving forward everyday. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re definitely going in the right direction.”
The Broncs have found themselves within at least 10 points in their four losses thus far. Last season, Rider found itself trailing by at least 10 to 20 out of their 28 losses, thus showing the difference under Milligan’s coaching
With three wins under their belt, as compared to last season’s mere two, the Broncs seem to be on their way to a more successful season under Milligan.
“We’ve taken great strides and we have a lot more to take, but the strides we’ve taken have all been very positive,” Milligan said. “So we’re going to continue to work hard and control our game.”
The loss to the Tigers makes Rider 3-1 at home under Milligan, making the Broncs’ Zoo a factor in the team’s upcoming conference games.
“We’re excited to be home,” Milligan said. “Obviously we’ve played well at home so far this season, so I’m glad that we get to start at home.”
Rider fell to Canisius twice last season, first 47-61 before losing 60-88. The Broncs later came up short against Niagara two times, 51-71 the first time around and then 60-66.
The Broncs will start off conference play tonight against Canisius at 7 p.m.
“I think we’ve been tested early, we’ve had success early, and we’ve had a couple of letdowns early,” Milligan said. “So I think even though the season is young, we’ve been able to get a feel for a lot of different situations and I think that’s going to help us in the conference. We’re picked 10th, so now we’re out to prove some people wrong, and I think that will help carry us this weekend.”