Women's College Basketball
Niagara University 62 Rider University 58
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Game
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.--Despite 16 points and seven rebounds from senior Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Inst. of Notre Dame), the Rider University women's basketball team lost at Niagara University 62-58 in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game on Friday evening.
Bopp moved into third place all-time on the Rider rebounding list with 804.
Tied at 51-51 after a tip-in by junior MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco)), (the sixth and final tie of the evening), Niagara scored the next four points to take a 55-51 lead with 2:58 left in the game. McKenzie finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, logging 25 minutes. McKenzie missed the first 11 minutes of the second half with an upper body injury.
"The game was in our grasp and we let it slip away at the end," said head coach Lynn Milligan. "We needed a few defensive stops and we didn't get them. Then we got a few foul calls. I thought we played pretty good defense."
McKenzie made a layup with 2:25 left to bring Rider (7-9, 2-3 MAAC) to within one (55-54) before Meghan McGuinness hit a three-pointer giving Niagara a four-point lead with 1:54 left. McGuinness finished with 10 points and four rebounds.
"I thought we played a good ball game," Milligan added. "We had too many fouls called at the end and didn't get the stop we needed. It was really that simple."
Niagara (8-8, 3-2 MAAC) was led by Kayla Stroman with 13 points.
Rider opened the game on a 4-0 run, two points each by McKenzie and sophomore Emily Fazzini (Wayne, Pa./Archbishop Carroll). Fazzini finished with five points and four rebounds.
Tied at 4-4, Rider went on a 7-0 run, three points by Fazzini as the Broncs took an 11-4 lead with 12:11 left in the opening half.
The Purple Eagles responded with a 9-0 run as Niagara went ahead 13-11, 10 minutes into the contest.
Three players scored for the Broncs as part of a 6-0 run as Rider went back into the lead 17-13 with 9:21 left in the opening half.
Rider made its first 13 free throws and the Broncs were 18-23 for the game from the charity stripe.
Graduate student Carleigh Brown (Philadelphia, Pa./Nazareth Academy) ended the opening half with a steal and a three-point play, giving Rider a 35-31 lead at intermission. C. Brown finished with five points and three rebounds to go along with three steals, two assists and two blocks. C. Brown moved into 20th place all-time on the Rider rebounding list with 453.
Also for the Broncs, senior Sironda Chambers (Wilmington, Del.) had nine points and five rebounds.
Rider had 23 turnovers in the game compared to just 12 for Niagara.
"We had too many turnovers," Milligan said. "That cut down on our attempts at the basket. We were a little undisciplined in the types of passes we were trying to make."
Each team shot 39 percent.
Rider entered the game tied for fifth nationally in road wins with six.
This was the 35th meeting between Rider and Niagara with the Niagara winning for the 20th time. Rider's last win at Niagara was in triple overtime, 79-73 on February 18, 2011. The teams meet again at Rider on February 2, 2013 at 2pm in Alumni Gymnasium.
"This is one we are going to look back on and know we made mistakes we can control," Milligan said. "Especially when you are on the road, we have to play a little tougher."
10 of Rider's 16 games have been decided by seven points or less this season.
Rider travels to Canisius for a Sunday afternoon game at 2pm. The Golden Griffins lost to Marist Friday evening. Canisius defeated Rider 51-50 on January 10 in Alumni Gym.