By Paige McAtee
This past week, the women’s basketball team looked to gain more momentum from its previous victory in double overtime, but instead the Broncs came up short in both games despite tough efforts. Rider fell 66-55 against Fairfield (17-8, 10-4) Saturday and 57-44 to Siena (10-14, 8-6) on Monday.
Rider is competing this weekend in upstate New York, facing last place Niagara (1-24, 0-14 MAAC) tonight at 7 p.m. and then traveling to Canisius (8-17, 4-10 MAAC) on Sunday with the tip off at 2 p.m.
The Broncs are still fighting for their seeding in the upcoming MAAC tournament, making the next two games critical.
“Our preparation is very important and we must improve over these last few weeks, so we are heading into the tournament ready,” said Milligan.
Currently, Rider (3-22 overall) is tied for 8th place in the standings with Saint Peter’s, compiling three conference wins and 11 league losses.
“Our expectation for every game is to win, and in order to do that, we must be prepared and work hard at both ends of the floor for 40 minutes,” said head coach Lynn Milligan. “We came up a little short in both games.”
The fourth-year coach believes the Broncs need to compete from start to finish.
“Against Fairfield and Siena we didn’t put a full 40 minutes together,” she said. “We had spots of very good basketball but not enough of them to win the games.”
Last Saturday, Rider couldn’t handle Fairfield, the fourth-place team in the MAAC. The Broncs trailed the Stags the entire game, but closed the gap to 53-49 with 6:59 left in the game when sophomore Alyssa Parsons scored five points. But Fairfield extended its lead and cruised to a double-digit victory.
Last week’s MAAC rookie of the week, freshman MyNeshia McKenzie, posted her second double-double in a row, scoring 14 points and having 10 rebounds in the loss. Also, sophomore Shereen Lightbourne scored 11 points and grabbed a career-best seven rebounds.
The Broncs then came up short again on Monday night against Siena, the fifth-place squad in the conference.
McKenzie once again led the team in scoring and notched a double-double for the third game in a row, scoring a season-best 21 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Caitlin Bopp also played well, scoring nine points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
With 4:41 left in the game, the Broncs closed the Saints’ lead to 14 points, 51-37, with a three-point shot by Parsons, but that was the closest they were all game to closing the gap.
“Our team’s performance this season has been up and down,” said Milligan. “We have to continue to work hard every day to get better and find our balance on offense and defense.”
By Paige McAtee