Broncs get blown out in Hawk Classic title game
By Stephen Neukam
A weekend of action for the women’s basketball team ended with mixed results, with a 56-54 victory over St. Joseph’s on Nov. 24 and a lopsided 112-61 loss to Boston College on Nov. 25 at the 25th Annual Hawk Classic at St. Joseph’s.
Following her historic triple-double performance against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 17, junior guard Stella Johnson once again led the way for the team over the two games, averaging 13.5 points, two assists and two steals over the span.
Johnson also received help from fellow junior guard Amari Johnson, who poured in 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the game against St. Joseph’s.
Rider trailed by as much as 10 points in the match against the Hawks. The Broncs went into halftime with a two-point deficit.
Rider turned the game around in the second half, opening the third quarter with a 6-0 run and holding St. Joseph’s scoreless during the last four minutes to secure the 56-54 win.
“We’ve been telling our team we need to get better,” said Head Coach Lynn Milligan.
“Even in wins, we need to learn lessons and we are starting to see some of that stick. It wasn’t pretty and we knew it wasn’t going to be.”
While Stella Johnson and Amari Johnson combined for 31 points in the game, junior forward Lea Favre pitched in 10 points and sophomore forward Daija Moses added six points of her own.
Boston College’s offense proved to be too dominant for the Bronc defense.
In the championship game of the Hawk Classic, the Eagles shot over 58 percent from the field and just under 50 percent from the three-point line.
To start the second quarter, the Eagles amassed a huge 23-2 run that ballooned their lead to 30. By halftime, Boston College had a staggering lead of 61-19.
Rider posted a field goal percentage of 34 percent and shot just 10 percent from the three-point line en route to the 112-62 loss.
“We didn’t play Rider basketball in the first half at all,” said Milligan. “We played a great team and we just didn’t have enough in us to get the result we wanted today.”
The loss dropped the Broncs’ record to 2-4. Through six games last season, the team was 0-6.
“Each game we play is a learning experience,” said Amari Johnson. “Boston College showed us that we can’t let the uncontrollable affect how we play as a unit. We let a variety of bad calls get into our heads, which pulled us farther away from our goal.”
A major issue for Rider early this season is its effectiveness of offense. The team has shot under 40 percent from the field and has remained inconsistent from the three point line with a shooting percentage of 30.8 percent.
The team has also struggled on defense. Opponents averaged 74.5 points per game and posted a shooting percentage of 45.6 percent.
Rider will return home on Nov. 28 to face the New Jersey Institute of Technology at 7 p.m. That game will be followed by a home matchup against Navy on Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.