Women's College Basketball
Mount St. Mary's University 70 Rider University 67
LAWRENCEVILLE--With all of the rain in New Jersey in the past month, the last thing you would expect is a drought. But that is exactly what has happened to the Rider University women's basketball team in the last two games, both losses.
The Broncs could not recover from a scoring drought of almost eight minutes and lost to Mount St. Mary's 70-67 on Friday evening at Alumni Gymnasium in Lawrenceville.
"We had that type of stretch on Monday night as well (53-51 loss to NJIT)," said head coach Lynn Milligan about the long stretch without scoring. "I really thought that defensively, we didn't get stops when we needed them. You score 67 points and play defense like we are capable of, we should have come out with the win."
Rider senior Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) had 18 points and 12 rebounds, the 19th 'double-double' in her career and she added two blocks, two assists and a steal, logging 32 minutes.
"Caitlin was terrific," Milligan said. "When she is on the floor, not in foul trouble and we get her touches, I'll put her up against anybody."
Trailing by two, Bopp hit a layup with senior Sironda Chambers (Newark, Del./Hodgson Vo-Tech.) assisting to tie the game at 67 with one minute remaining, the 11th and final tie of the game.
Mount St. Mary's (1-1) took a 69-67 lead on a jumper by Sydney Henderson with 42.5 seconds left and after two missed layups by Rider, Selina Mann hit one free throw with 15.4 seconds left for the final score.
Henderson finished with a career-high 30 points, including six from three-point range and added eight rebounds (four offensive) to go along with four steals and three assists.
"Henderson stepped up and had a great game," Milligan said. "She put her team on her back and they just rode her."
Rider had two chances to tie the game and missed both three-point attempts.
"We are a veteran team that is playing a lot of young kids," Milligan said. "Our veterans did what they had to do and we need to close that gap with the younger players."
With the Mount leading 65-63, Chambers tied the game at 65 with a driving layup with 2:17 remaining. Chambers finished with 15 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Trailing 63-57, Rider tied the game on two free throws each by junior MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco)) and Bopp along with a field goal by Chambers with 3:01 remaining. McKenzie finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, going 14 for 14 from the free throw line.
Rider led 51-44 before the Mount went on a 10-0 run to go back into the lead, 54-51 with 8:59 left in the game as the Broncs were held without a field goal for almost eight minutes.
"It was a combination of a lot of little things we didn't do," Bopp said. "We have to be disciplined on those things and that's what cost us the game, especially on the defensive end. You can score 100 points but defense wins games. Defense defines your team and we pride ourselves on our defensive effort."
Leading 39-31 at intermission, Rider extended its lead to eight (41-33) on a layup by Bopp before the Mount went on a 7-0 run to get within one with 16:49 left in the game.
Trailing 15-11, Rider tied the game at 17 with 8:12 remaining in the first half with a 6-2 run, all six points by Chambers.
After the Mount responded with a 5-0 run, Rider went on a 5-0 run, three points by freshman Mikal Johnson (Manassas, Va./Osbourn) to tie the game at 22. Johnson had five points, two steals and an assist in 19 minutes.
Trailing 24-22, the Broncs used a 6-0 run, two points each by Bopp, McKenzie and Chambers to take a 28-24 lead with 4:49 remaining in the opening half.
McKenzie hit a three-pointer, Bopp scored a layup and McKenzie followed with two free throws as Rider extended its lead to nine, 37-28 on the strength of a 7-0 run with 1:24 left in the first half.
Mount St. Mary's out-rebounded Rider 34-33 with the Broncs holding an 11-10 advantage on the offensive glass.
"Defense is grit and guts and that was what I'm most disappointed about from tonight's game," Milligan added. "That being said, being in another close game, tonight's experience is going to help us. Every game you get a little better at certain things and some of your weaknesses pop out and you work to correct them. This is game three of a long season."
The Mountaineers shot 43 percent (23-53) with Rider shooting 40 percent (21-53) from the field.
Rider was 21-24 from the free throw line (88 percent).
This was the 22nd meeting all-time between Rider and the Mount. Former Northeast Conference rivals, Mount St. Mary's leads the all-time series 17-5.
Rider won at Emmitsburg, Maryland last season 53-44.
The Broncs travel to Princeton for a 7pm game on Tuesday at Jadwin Gym.