By Arianna Marino
The women’s basketball team had a strong beginning to its season, but fell short at the University of Central Florida (UCF) Thanksgiving Challenge.
The Broncs (3-2) battled La Salle on Nov. 17 for their third win, starting the season 3-0 for the first time in 34 years. Rider then traveled to Florida to take on Central Florida and St. Bonaventure; both games resulted in a loss.
Head Coach Lyn Milligan credited the team’s defense for the strong start of the season and even in the loss, the defense was not the reason Rider did not come out victorious.
“Defensive intensity has to remain the same,” Milligan said. “We have been getting in foul trouble, but I feel like that has not got in the way of our intensity. When your number is called, you are expected to do everything right on the defensive side of the ball and to keep the pressure up.”
The Broncs defeated La Salle (3-3) 74-61 in a game where Rider did not surrender its lead once. Senior guard Robin Perkins led the Broncs by 15 points, followed by junior guard Kamila Hoskova with 12 points.
Senior center Julia Duggan had her 10th career double-double with 12 points. Duggan was one off of her career high with 15 boards, giving her 572 rebounds and 12th best all-time at Rider.
The Broncs’ defense had a strong game and held La Salle to no field goals and seven points on free throws in the final 5:30 of the game.
MAAC Rookie of the Week freshman guard Stella Johnson played 26 minutes and contributed nine points, a rebound, a block and a steal.
Duggan states the game was a good test because they were different than the team before.
“La Salle was quick and relied heavily on their guards,” Duggan said.
This game marked the first time in 10 games that Rider has beaten La Salle.
The Broncs’ win streak ended at the UCF Thanksgiving Challenge in Orlando. Central Florida handed Rider its first loss of the season, beating the Broncs 49-30.
The Broncs were strong from the start, scoring six straight points and kept Central Florida off the scoreboard for the first six minutes.
The Knights (5-1), however, retaliated by scoring six points in the following 51 seconds to tie the game. Central Florida took the lead in the first quarter and had the lead until final buzzer.
Freshman guard Stella Johnson had a stand-out performance with 12 points and four steals, while senior guard Robin Perkins contributed seven.
Junior guard Kamila Hoskova and senior forward Yeliz Dogan both supplied the Broncs with six rebounds each.
Rider did not find much luck in Orlando, as St. Bonaventure (3-3) handed the team its second loss of the season. After Rider got held to just seven points in the first quarter, the Broncs defense was tough in the following quarter, limiting Central Florida to just eight points and went into halftime trailing the Knights 25-23.
Duggan described the two road games as a test in respect to playing on the road, especially playing games on back-to-back days.
“They were winnable games, but there were little things in each game that cost us greatly,” Duggan said.
St. Bonaventure led from the start, scoring the first seven points of the game.
Senior Julia Duggan led the Broncs with her 11th career double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Senior guard Robin Perkins contributed 11 points and four rebounds, and Hoskova added six points, eight rebounds and two steals.
The Broncs look to redeem themselves on Dec. 2 against Canisius on the road. It is the first of seven straight road games for Rider. The team’s next home game will be on Dec. 21.