Women's College Basketball
Canisius College 75, Rider University 68
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Game
BUFFALO, N.Y.--Junior MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco)) had 20 points, leading three players in double-digits for the Rider University women's basketball team but it wasn't enough as the Broncs lost at Canisius College 75-68 on Sunday afternoon.
"I don't think we played a bad game today," said head coach Lynn Milligan. "I thought we had some defensive breakdowns that cost us a little bit. We only had 13 turnovers and we had 16 assists and had some kids put some points on the board who have been struggling. We just didn't get it done, but it wasn't for a lack of effort."
McKenzie pulled down nine rebounds, just missing what would have been her 20th career 'double-double' and she added three assists, two steals and a block in 38 minutes.
Trailing 59-50 with 8:23 left in the game, Rider (7-10, 2-4 MAAC) went on a 10-2 run, four points by McKenzie as the Broncs cut the lead to 61-60 with 4:53 remaining in the second half.
Canisius responded with a 6-0 run, four points by Jamie Ruttle as the Golden Griffs expanded their lead to 67-60 with 1:55 remaining in the game. Ruttle finished with nine points.
Rider responded by scoring eight of the next 12 points, four points by McKenzie as the Broncs got to within 71-68 with 31 seconds remaining in the game. The Golden Griffins went four for four from the free throw line in the final 30 seconds for the final score.
Canisius opened the game with two straight three-pointers, one by Ashley Durham who finished with a game-high 25 points for the Golden Griffins.
Rider responded with a 12-4 run, eight points by sophomore Emily Fazzini (Wayne, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) as the Broncs took a 12-10 lead six minutes into the game.
Fazzini finished with 17 points, 12 in the opening half.
Fazzini shot seven for 14 from the field and had three of Rider's six three-pointers before fouling out.
Also for the Broncs, senior Sironda Chambers (Wilmington, Del.) had 15 points, four rebounds (three offensive) and two steals with freshman Taylor Wentzel (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) adding eight points, three rebounds, three steals and three assists in 32 minutes of play.
"Emily put points on the board today," Milligan said. "She and Sironda both did well offensively. If Sironda stays out of foul trouble (limited to 21 minutes), who knows how the game ends up. For us to be successful, we need production from both Sironda and Emily at the same time. And Taylor played well this weekend. She wants to run things and she is going to get her chances."
Trailing 24-22, Canisius responded with an 8-0 run, retaking the lead 30-24 with 5:06 left before intermission and the Golden Griffins led 38-32 at the break. That was the eighth and final lead change of the game.
After Rider cut the Golden Griffin lead to four, Canisius went on a 9-0 run opening up its largest of the game, 51-38 with 12:53 left in the game.
The Broncs responded with a 12-4 run, six points by McKenzie as Rider to within five (55-50) with 9:36 left in the game.
11 of Rider's 17 games have decided by seven points or less this season.
"We need to find a way to get over this hump," Milligan said. "We are a good basketball team. We are way past getting blow out of the gym; our games are going to be competitive and it is getting that one stop or not missing a box out and maybe one missed layup away from winning the close games. The team gives everything they have every day and we are going to continue to work hard. We are one possession, one 50-50 ball away and we all want it so bad."
Rider was out-rebounded 44-37. The Golden Griffins out-shot the Broncs 43 percent to 37 percent.
Canisius defeated Rider 51-50 on January 10, 2013 in Lawrenceville, sweeping the season series. Today was the 35th meeting between the Golden Griffins and the Broncs with Canisius winning for the 28th time overall and fifth time in a row.
Rider hosts Saint Peter's in a MAAC game Thursday at 7pm in Alumni Gymnasium.