Women's College Basketball
Johnson Honored by the MAAC
EDISON--For the third week in a row, a Rider University women's basketball player was a conference major award winner as freshman Mikal Johnson (Manassas, Va./Osbourn) was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week.
A 5-8 guard, Johnson was recognized for all competition December 10-16.
"Mikal is settling down and becoming comfortable with her role," said head coach Lynn Milligan. "When she gets an opportunity to score or make a big play, she is coming through. She doesn't force the action and is making good reads and good decisions."
In Rider's 65-48 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday, Johnson scored six points and helped Rider's effort with several clutch plays.
In the opening half, Johnson forced a turnover that led to a fast break and layup as Rider broke a 17-17 tie.
"It will be overlooked but Mikal has really picked up her defense effort," Milligan said. "She is really understanding the pace and the speed, the thinking part of the collegiate game. She is putting herself in positions to be successful."
In the second half, with the game tied at 24, Johnson was fouled on a three-point attempt and knocked down all three free throws, giving Rider a 27-24 lead.
With the Broncs trailing 29-27, Johnson nailed a three-pointer that put Rider back in the lead 30-29, the third of five lead changes in the contest.
Johnson added two rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot in the win.
Playing almost 20 minutes a game, Johnson is averaging 6.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest.
Rider (5-4) has won four of its last five games since Johnson has been inserted into the starting lineup.
"The last five games, we have certainly played better as a team," Milligan added. "All of our guards have really stepped up and settled down that position and Mikal entering the starting lineup has added to the stability in that spot."
The Broncs also received another accolade on Monday with senior Sironda Chambers (Wilmington, Delaware) honored as the CollegeSportsMadness.com MAAC Player of the Week.
Recognized as the MAAC Player of the Week two weeks ago, Chambers continued her strong play, leading the Broncs to a road upset at Pitt.
Chambers scoring 20 points and added five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block (and no turnovers) in 32 minutes, while shooting 7-15 from the field, including three of four from three-point range.
Chambers also led the defensive effort that held Pitt to 48 points with the Panthers going without a field goal (and scoring only five free throws) for the final 8:58 of the game.
This was Chamber's third 20-plus point effort in the last five games and she is averaging 15.8 points per contest in nine games this season.
Senior Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Inst. of Notre Dame) was the MAAC Player of the Week for all games December 3-9 and was also recognized by CollegeSportsMadness.com for her efforts in the Bronc win over Army.
Bopp scored 20 points and pulled down eight rebounds as Rider defeated the Black Knights 66-60 on December 7.
The Broncs travel to Central Connecticut State University on December 21 for a 6pm non-conference game in New Britain.