By Thomas Albano
After opening the season on the road, the Broncs returned home to Alumni Gym seeking their first two wins of the season against LIU-Brooklyn on Nov. 14 and cross-town rival Princeton on Nov. 19.
Unfortunately the Broncs weren’t able to take full advantage of their home court by defeating LIU-Brooklyn 62-48, while losing to the Tigers (2-1) 75-62.
Against the Tigers, Rider struggled offensively in the first half, shooting only 29% from the field. At halftime, the Broncs were down 47-32.
Rider did not fare much better in the second half, again struggling to shoot the ball. Princeton managed to shoot 52% from the field. Even though the Tigers turned over the ball 11 more times than the Broncs, Princeton went on to win 75-62.
Junior guard Lashay Banks and senior guard MyNeshia McKenzie led the way with 19 points each. This game marked McKenzie’s 30th double-double and seventh straight game with a double-double since last season.
Earlier in the week, Rider managed to pick up its first win of the season, 62-48, over LIU-Brooklyn (0-2).
Banks said the team needed the victory in the home opener.
“That win boosted our confidence,” Banks said. “The first game we played against Lafayette was a little sloppy, but that was a game we could have won. Then, the same thing happened at Seton Hall. We let LIU-Brooklyn hang around, but we still got the win.”
Head Coach Lynn Milligan described the game against LIU-Brooklyn as a “game of runs.”
“I was very happy with how well we started the game and how strong we played in the first half,” she said. “LIU is a solid team and you expect teams to make runs and not just quit. We wanted to limit their runs and keep our aggressive play up. At times we did this, but did have a few lulls in the second half we need to work on.”
Within the first seven minutes, the Broncs went on a 12-3 run. Rider would end the half leading 25-15. The start of the second half, however, had the Broncs on the other end of the spectrum. After a 10-4 run, LIU-Brooklyn would then go on a 16-4 run, shortening the Broncs’ lead to just four points with 11 minutes left to play. The tide turned a final time as Rider ended the game by dominating the court with a 14-4 run, winning 62-48.
Banks and McKenzie led the Broncs throughout the game. Banks finished the game with 21 points, eight rebounds and one assist. McKenzie totaled 18 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists.
Rider will continue their season on Nov. 24 when they face Delaware.
Milligan knows the Broncs will need strong performances from McKenzie and Banks once again.
“Lashay and MyNeshia are two players we will count on to put points on the board and provide leadership as the season progresses,” Milligan said. “When they are playing well, it is obviously a good advantage for us and influences their teammates in a positive way.”