St. Francis Brooklyn 58 Rider 55
Women's College Basketball
St. Francis Brooklyn 58 Rider University 55
LAWRENCEVILLE--St. Francis Brooklyn snapped an eight game losing streak, defeating Rider University 58-55 on Saturday afternoon in Alumni Gymnasium.
The Broncs were led by senior Sironda Chambers (Wilmington, Del.) who scored 18 points.
Trailing 58-48 with 2:42 left in the game, Rider (5-6) went on a 7-0 run, including a three-point play by Chambers, cutting the Terrier lead to three (58-55) with 1:16 left in the game.
"We gave ourselves an opportunity at the end but we put ourselves in a bad situation getting down by 10 with less than three minutes left," said head coach Lynn Milligan. "We had breakdowns and we were just inconsistent the entire game. It's very frustrating."
Chambers was seven for seven from the free throw line and Rider was 20-26 (77 percent) from the charity stripe in the game.
"Today was frustrating," Chambers said. "I had trouble getting to the basket and overall as a team, we couldn't hit open shots. We aren't playing consistent."
Rider caused a turnover and had two chances to tie the game in the final 16 seconds, including an off balance three-pointer at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.
"Our plan was if Sironda got it, it was going to be a quick two and if Mikal (Johnson) got it, it would be a three point attempt," Milligan said. "We were rushed on our screens in the final four seconds and I was hoping for a little better of a look."
The Broncs opened the game, scoring eight of the first 12 points, six by Chambers as Rider led 8-4 with 15:22 left in the opening half.
The Terriers responded with a 5-0 run as St. Francis took a 9-8 lead 6:38 into the contest.
After two free throws by junior MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco), St. Francis scored the next five points and led 14-10 midway through the opening half.
McKenzie finished with 14 points and added five rebounds and three steals in 30 minutes and her 591 rebounds are now 10th best all-time at Rider.
Trailing 14-10, Rider went on a 9-0 run, six points by sophomore Emily Fazzini (Wayne, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) as the Broncs retook the lead 19-14 with 6:50 left in the first half. Fazzini finished with eight points in the game.
St. Francis responded with a 9-0 run of its own and the Terriers held the Broncs to only two free throws in the final 6:50 of the first half as St. Francis took a 23-21 lead into intermission. The game had five ties and five lead changes, all in the opening 20 minutes.
The Terriers opened the second half with seven straight points and held Rider scoreless until senior Dior Brown (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby) scored on a running jumper with 16:28 left in the game, bringing Rider to within 30-23. Brown finished with six points in the game, grabbed two rebounds and had a steal in 14 minutes off the bench.
"We needed to come out at the start of the second half and send a message and we didn't." Milligan said. "So I sent one by pulling the starters and brought in our energy group and they responded. Dior especially, she has embraced her role, she gives us energy on defense and turned that into transition opportunities on the offensive end. She gave us great minutes."
Trailing 42-33, Rider cut the Terrier lead to 45-42 with 6:24 left on the strength of a 9-3 run, seven points by Chambers.
St. Francis scored 13 of the next 19 points, opening up its largest lead of the contest, 58-48 with 2:42 left.
The Terriers were led by 16 points each from Sarah Benedetti and Jaymee Veney.
Senior Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Inst. of Notre Dame) led Rider with eight rebounds, four on the offensive glass and Bopp added five points, two assists, a block and a steal in 33 minutes.
Rider was out-rebounded 37-32.
St. Francis out-shot the Broncs 43 percent (23-54) to 31 percent (15-49).
"We didn't get enough shots at the basket," Milligan said about the 49 field goal attempts. "We got out-shot, we got out-rebounded and we got out-worked. We had to dig our way back again. Its fundamental things and we have some work to do."
Former Northeast Conference rivals, this was the 25th meeting between Rider and St. Francis with the Terriers winning for only the fourth time in the series and for the first time since the 1996-97 season. The Broncs won at Brooklyn Heights 68-48 in 2011-12.
Rider hosts defending conference champion Marist College on January 4, 2013 at 7pm to begin MAAC play.
"Pretty much everything is about the MAAC," Milligan said. "With that said, we missed several opportunities to win games in the non-conference portion of the schedule, including the last two games (including the overtime loss at CCSU)."
Rider had the best non-conference record of any MAAC team in 2011-12 at 8-3 but enter conference play this season at 5-6.
"We can move past this and focus on conference play but we definitely feel we underachieved during non-conference play," Chambers said.