Slow starts cripple Broncs in two defeats

Sophomore Caitlin Bopp compiled 18 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to Farleigh Dickinson.

By Melissa Kasiarz

Rider looked to earn its first victory when it entered its games against Pennsylvania and Fairleigh Dickinson but instead found itself still searching for it.
Rider lost to the Quakers on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 60-45 before dropping its third road game of the season, 77-50, to the Knights on Monday, Nov. 29. The best player for the Broncs against Pennsylvania was sophomore Shereen Lightbourne, who led Rider with 12 points.
The Quakers were leading the whole game, but Rider fought back by cutting Pennsylvania’s lead multiple times. The Quakers outrebounded the Broncs, getting 47 boards compared to Rider’s 31. Losing this game gave Pennsylvania its seventh win over Rider in its history, while the Broncs have beaten the Quakers three times.
Rider lost to Fairleigh Dickinson by 27 points, and never made the game close. In the tough non-conference battle away from home, sophomore Caitlin Bopp was sensational in the losing effort. The forward recorded her 12th career double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. The 18 points were a career-high while Bopp also had four steals and a block in 30 minutes of action.
Lightbourne followed up her impressive performance against Penn with a career high 14 points in 32 minutes of playing time.
“We have had some players step up in each of the last two games,” said head coach Lynn Milligan. “Most notable, Caitlin Bopp and Shereen Lightbourne. Both players are starting to emerge as consistent scoring threats for us.”
Rider struggled again in the rebounding column as the Knights outrebounded the Broncs 42-36. Rider turned the ball over 33 of the 61 total miscues in the game and Fairleigh Dickinson took advantage, scoring 35 points off the mistakes.
Despite the loss, Rider leads the all-time series against its former Northeast Conference rivals 12-9, although the Knights have won the last two meetings.
“Losing is never good,” Milligan said. “Everyone wants to win and this team is no different. We just have to find our way and keep preparing every day for each game.”
Rider runs into a tough stretch of games that features Princeton, the defending Ivy League champions, Fordham and the 13th-ranked team in the country: Georgetown.
“Our future games are very tough and in order to improve our play, we must continue to work hard at practice and believe in what we are doing,” Milligan said. “The start of each game is critical for our success.”
Time will only tell if the Broncs can act on that and win their next game on Sunday at Princeton. Tip off is set for 2 p.m.

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