By Dylan Manfre
There always seems to be one quarter of the game that burns the women’s basketball team. For a majority of the season, it has been the third quarter. On Jan. 9 against Siena it was the second quarter, where Rider gave up 32 points.
In the series finale on Jan. 10, it was the later moments of the third quarter and majority of the fourth which saw Siena hold multiple double digit leads and complete the weekend sweep, 69-60.
“We had some costly turnovers,” Head Coach Lynn Milligan said. “And to Siena’s credit, every time we made a mistake they capitalized on it. It was kind of a double whammy.”
The first quarter seemed reminiscent of yesterday’s game, but with fewer points on the board after Rider held a 13-11 advantage. If it was burned by anything that quarter, it was its long-range shooting, where itmade 1-of-8.
The Broncs certainly were not burned by careless turnovers. They had two of those through the first 14 minutes of the game. It was matched with solid offense from Rider which freshman forward Raphaela Toussaint was the catalyst of.
The Ontario, Canada, native was one rebound shy of a double-double at halftime with her 10 points as she helped RIder go into the break down 31-30. Toussaint is averaging 5.8 points per game and nearly as many rebounds. Toussaint eventually got her second double-double of the year after grabbing her 10th board with 4:53 left in the third quarter. She finished with a career high 14 points and 11 rebounds.
“It’s easier to perform when I know my teammates have my back,” Toussaint after the game.
“Once she unleashes the beast, it’s going to be lights out for a lot of people. We just got to get her to realize that,” Milligan said. “She is capable of doing a lot of great things for us, it’s just the consistency level, the physicality catches up to her sometimes.”
A late comeback was part of a 5-0 run for the Saints led by Margo Peterson who had 13 of the team’s 31 points in the first half. She ended the game with a team-high 21 on 58% shooting from the field.
Rider came out of the intermission matching its first half intensity, another thing it has struggled to do this season. At the third quarter media timeout, the Broncs were up, 37-36, and sophomore center Victoria Toomey, one of the most consistent players on the roster, was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field, had six points and five rebounds.
If there was a part of the game where Rider lost its touch, or as Milligan said on Jan. 9, “shot itself in the foot,” it was the later parts of the third quarter when Siena went on a 14-2 run.
Rider found itself clawing for a comeback for the second straight day as it found itself in a 10 point hole on multiple occasions throughout the later stages of the third quarter and throughout the fourth. Siena saw its largest lead of 14 with 1:20 left.
Milligan said the team had an “open and honest” meeting after yesterday’s 73-64 loss which gave Siena its first MAAC win. Questions such as “Who are we?” and “Who do we want to be?” were addressed.
Toussaint spoke about what she needs to hold herself accountable for.
“Making sure I move my feet on defense and make sure I talk to my teammates and let them know who’s available, where everybody is and just make sure I do my part.”
Freshman guard Makayla Firebaugh, who is the team’s leading scorer at 9.9 points per game got “hit in the head” and was kept out of the game today citing protocol, according to Milligan.
THe Broncs will be back at Alumni Gym for their next two series against Saint Peter’s on Jan. 16 and 17, and against Quinnipiac on Jan. 22 and 23.
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