By Brandon Scalea
After winning its first two games of the season, the women’s basketball team has fallen into an early slump, dropping its last three.
Junior center Julia Duggan said that even though a three-game losing streak seems like a big deal, her team only needs to make simple adjustments.
“I feel like we just need to work on the little things,” she said. “On offense, we need to work on our flow. Sometimes when we go from one offense to the next, we have a period where some of us aren’t on the same page, so the offense breaks down. On defense we need to have better communication and a better sense of awareness on the court.”
On Nov. 21, Rider traveled to The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). The Broncs led by as much as 14 in the third quarter, but the home team stormed back to steal a 58-53 win. Shooting made the difference in the game, as the Broncs finished shooting only 39 percent from the field, to the Retrievers’ 45 percent.
Despite the loss, Duggan had another big offensive game, finishing 6 for 10 from the field for 14 points and six rebounds. Sophomore forward C’quoya Haughton proved to be a factor off the bench, shooting 71 percent from the field for 10 points.
Unfortunately for Rider (2-3), these were the only two Broncs who put up significant numbers. Trailing 47-34 late in the third quarter, UMBC began a late run. Ultimately, they outscored the Broncs 19-5 in the fourth quarter to turn a 13-point deficit into a five-point victory.
The Broncs looked to rebound on Nov. 24 against their cross-town rival, Princeton, a team that went undefeated in the 2014-15 regular season en route to the NCAA Tournament. Just like the Princeton men’s team earlier in the month, the Tigers came into Alumni Gym and had control of the game from start to finish, winning 78-59.
Rider’s only lead of the game was in the opening minutes of the first quarter, when senior guard Manon Pellet hit a three-pointer that gave them an 8-6 advantage. The home crowd of almost 500 was silenced shortly thereafter when Princeton began a 13-0 run for a lead it would never relinquish.
The Tigers were able to shut down Duggan, who only put up seven points and two rebounds.
Duggan complimented Princeton’s defensive work.
“They definitely did a good job of clogging up the lane with their defense which made it hard for the guards to get the ball into the post,” she said. “Their whole team did a great job of finding a person and boxing them out when a shot went up so that gave them an upper-hand in rebounding.”
Freshman guard Lexi Posset came off the bench for six points and four rebounds in 14 minutes of action.
Haughton also had an impressive night for the Broncs, despite the score, finishing with a career-high 12 rebounds.
The win for the Tigers marked the 24th time since the series began that they were able to knock off Rider, and the eighth consecutive time.
The woes continued for the team on Nov. 29 when they traveled to West Point, New York, to take on Army, where they lost by double-digits for the second straight game. The Black Knights were coming off their only loss of the season to No. 14 Duke, a game in which they nearly pulled off the upset.
In the 57-42 loss, senior guard Yeliz Dogan had 11 points, three rebounds and an assist, while junior guard Robin Perkins had 11 points and a pair of rebounds.
The Black Knights would lead for the majority of the game, losing the lead only once in the second quarter. With Army (4-1) leading 20-15, the Broncs went on a 7-1 run thanks to five points from Perkins, giving them a 22-21 advantage that would not last for very long.
After the Black Knights regained a four-point lead in the third quarter, they went on an 8-0 run to push the lead to 40-28. Army’s senior guard Jean Parker had 18 points in the win.
Rider will open MAAC play on Dec. 4 when the team heads to New Rochelle, New York, to take on Iona, a team that swept them last season.