The women’s basketball team defeated Siena to notch its first conference win of the season and snap the Broncs’ seven-game losing streak.
Rider (6-14 overall, 1-8 MAAC) clinched a 77-73 win after sophomore Tammy Meyers gave the Broncs a new berth to put the game into overtime.
“We’re happy with it,” Head Coach Lynn Milligan said. “Obviously we’ve wanted to win some road games earlier, but to win on the road at Siena was a big accomplishment for the program. It’s a very difficult place to play. It was a great game, and to come through in overtime on the road is a very good sign for the future.”
The Broncs fell behind by three with only 5.1 seconds in regulation play, but junior Danielle Costantino took an inbounds pass up court and passed the ball off to Meyers, who sunk a 3-pointer to put both teams at 61 at the buzzer.
“They did a great job,” Milligan said. “We were able to call a timeout and set up a play, and everyone executed what they had to do, and did pretty much exactly what we told them. Danielle is a very smart player and we came out of the huddle saying the second pass would go to Tammy if we had time to do that. That is exactly what Danielle did and Tammy stepped up and hit a great shot.”
Siena (7-12 overall, 3-6 MAAC) was the first to put two points on the board in overtime, until Rider went on a 5-0 run to take a 66-63 lead.
The Saints responded with a field goal before the Broncs came out with a 4-0 run to put themselves five points ahead.
Siena found a way to come within two with 11 seconds left in the game, but junior Shaunice Parker hit a free throw with one second remaining to seal Rider’s second overtime win of the season.
“It’s a good sign,” Milligan said. “It’s that ‘never quit’ attitude that we always play to the end and we always play to the whistle. For that to keep on happening for us are good signs for not only this season but for seasons to come where we are in a difficult spot or a situation where we really have to execute and do things properly. We know we are capable of doing that.”
After a sloppy first half with more than 10 turnovers from each team, Rider came back, after trailing by seven, with a 9-0 run to claim a 26-24 lead at the half. The Broncs gave up only four turnovers in the second half and overtime.
Meyers scored a career high 27 points with five rebounds, four assists and four steals in 35 minutes of action.
Parker clinched her eighth career ‘double-double,’ with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Sophomore Amanda Sepulveda claimed seven of Rider’s 16 points in overtime, while scoring 21 points in regular play with a career high five three-point field goals.
Senior Janele Henderson added 14 points in 39 minutes of play to help the Broncs assure another win.
“We got together and asked each other the question of, what else can I do individually to help this team win?” Milligan said. “And I think everybody knows what they have to do and it’s a question of putting that into action on a daily basis, and I think that we have started to do that on a more consistent basis of stepping up.”
The win over Siena broke the Broncs’ 17-game losing streak on the road as well as the team’s seven-game losing streak and 11-game conference losing streak.
“Playing together as a team, the Siena game was probably by far the best game of the year as far as our communication and our togetherness and being on the same page for the entire 40 minutes,” Milligan said.
With all of the new abilities the team has grasped under Milligan, it has surpassed its victory total from the past two seasons combined. With six wins under the new coach’s belt, the Broncs have high hopes for the rest of their season as well as the program’s future.
“Whether it was rebounding, or scoring or defense, something got us every game,” Milligan said. “This game was the first game we were really able to pull all of that together, so hopefully that is a sign for better things to come.”
The Broncs will continue with their conference schedule on the road against Marist tonight at 7.
“We get to go up and play Marist, which is the best team in the league right now,” Milligan said. “The Siena win helped us. It just proves that we’re going to fight until the end.”