Women's College Basketball
Rider University Broncs, 66 Army Black Knights 60
LAWRENCEVILLE--Rider's vision was a perfect 20-20 Friday night in Alumni Gymnasium.
Behind 20 points from senior Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Inst. Of Notre Dame) and fueled by a 20-0 run mid-way through the opening half, the Rider University women's basketball defeated Army 66-60.
Bopp, who shot eight for 11 from the field, finished one off her career-high in points and had eight rebounds and three blocks in 30 minutes of play.
"Army is a great ball club," said head coach Lynn Milligan. "We showed a lot of character and it was a team win. This is something we can build on."
Trailing 18-8, Rider (4-4) went on a 20-0 run, five points each by sophomore Emily Fazzini (Wayne, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) and Bopp and four points by senior Dior Brown (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby) as the Broncs took a 28-18 lead with 5:10 left in the opening period. Fazzini finished with seven points and D. Brown had four points, two rebounds and a steal in 13 minutes.
"Defensively we did a better job than in the early part of the game," said Milligan. "You get stops and score, it has to go in that order. Having five players score during the run is a credit to our depth. We are deep and I'm not afraid to go to anybody."
"We kept fueling off each other," Bopp said. "We didn't really realize the extent of the extent of the run, we just kept communicating with each other. We have worked hard to have each other's backs."
Army went without a FG for 10 minutes until a late three-pointer made it 34-26 Rider at intermission.
Trailing 58-45, Army cut the Rider lead to one with a 12-0 run, with the Broncs recording five turnovers in a row as the Black Knights got to within 58-57 with 2:11 left in the game. Rider only had 12 turnovers in the game.
"We really focused on not getting rattled," Bopp added. "We just communicated and kept our composure."
Bopp hit a layup with 1:46 remaining to end the Rider drought.
After the Black Knights cut the Bronc lead 60-58, freshman Mikal Johnson (Manassas, Va./Osbourn) was fouled attempting a three-pointer and made all three from the charity stripe as Rider extended the lead to 63-58 with 47 seconds left. Johnson finished with six points and two rebounds. Rider shot 16-20 from the foul line in the game, including six for seven in the final minute.
Also for the Broncs, junior MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco) had 10 points and 12 rebounds for her 16th career 'double-double' and fourth of the season and senior Sironda Chambers (Wilmington, Del.) had nine points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal in 33 minutes of action.
"We are not built around one player," Milligan added. "Every night, we have a different player step up and tonight it was Caitlin with the points but with many others contributing solid minutes. But Caitlin had a monster game."
Leading 5-4, Army went on a 13-4 run as the Black Knights opened up a 10-point lead (18-8) with 11:41 left in the opening half.
Rider had a 40-37 advantage in rebounds and shot 41 percent for the game.
Army entered the game on a seven game winning streak and the Black Knights were 5-0 on the road.
Rider and Army have now met six times with the Broncs winning four, including the last two in a row. The Broncs and Black Knights last met on December 12, 2007, also in Alumni Gym with Rider winning 66-61 in overtime.
Rider travels to Pittsburgh December 16.
Notes: The 20-0 run topped the most points scored in a row in six seasons under Milligan which was 16 straight on December 17, 2011 when the Broncs won at Binghamton 66-56. In that game, trailing 40-37, Rider used six points from Ali Heller as part of the 16-0 run, putting the Broncs ahead 53-40 with 7:05 left in the game.