Rider takes strides under Milligan’s lead
The women’s basketball team improved mightily last season under first-year Head Coach Lynn Milligan. The Broncs quadrupled their win total from the previous season and compiled the program’s most victories in four years. With only one graduated senior from last season’s team, and the addition of four highly recruited freshmen, Rider looks to once again make progressive strides in the 2008-2009 campaign.
The Broncs’ roster consists of 14 women, featuring a nice balance between upper- and underclassmen. Rider boasts veteran leadership in senior Maura Gillooly and senior captains Danielle Costantino and Shaunice Parker. Milligan thinks very fondly of this trio and the rest of her upperclassmen.
“We have a great senior class which is excited to leave its mark on Rider women’s basketball,” she said. “We also have a solid junior class of five that gives us a veteran group and solid core.”
A key returner for the Broncs will be floor general Amanda Sepulveda. The junior point guard did just about everything last season, leading Rider in assists with 83 and shooting a team best .343 percentage from the three-point range. She also averaged a little less than 10 points per game, giving her club a legitimate scoring threat.
Supplying the Broncs with extra depth will be four talented freshmen with whom Milligan has been very pleased. Center Sarah Homan stands tallest on the team at 6’3”, while Lauren Gregg, Ali Heller and Alyssa Parsons are impressive guards who provide multiple weapons.
“We have a great group of freshmen that has come in and found their place very quickly,” Milligan said. “Their biggest roles will be the depth that they add to our team.”
The final and most important piece to the puzzle is versatile junior Tammy Meyers. The Willingboro native is Rider’s returning leading scorer with 11 points per game last season, while
ranking third on the team in rebounds with a 4.4 average. Because of her accolades, Meyers was a preseason third team All-MAAC selection and will play a vital role in the Broncs’ success.
“Tammy will obviously play a big part in what we do this year,” Milligan said. “She has worked hard, has a true sense for the game and can hurt you on the floor in many ways.”
Rider has everything in place this season, giving the Broncs belief in themselves and big expectations.
“Our goals for this season are high,” Milligan said. “We expect to continue what we started last season in building a solid foundation of discipline and hard work.”
The girls take on a difficult and challenging schedule this season as they match up with Big East power Seton Hall, Atlantic 10 foe La Salle and local rival Princeton, while competing against tough league opponents.
“Our non-conference schedule is very competitive and the MAAC continues to be a terrific women’s basketball conference,” Milligan said.
The Broncs struggled offensively last year, ranking second to worst in the MAAC in scoring offense, and last in field goal percentage and assists. Milligan knows there is room for improvement and believes this group has the ability to do so.
“If we continue to have a strong work ethic and improve our overall basketball knowledge and skill, we will be successful on and off the court,” she said.
The women’s basketball team opens its season tonight at Seton Hall at 5 p.m.