Women's College Basketball
Iona College 88, Rider University 58
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Game
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y.--It was a Gael force and we aren't talking about the snow storm.
In a contest seen on ESPN 3, the Rider University women's basketball team lost a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game to the Gaels from Iona College 88-58 on Saturday afternoon in New Rochelle.
"We've been playing great defense," said head coach Lynn Milligan. "Give Iona credit, they did a great job. They took it to us early and they took it to us hard and we didn't respond."
Rider entered the game giving up an average of 60 points per game and the Broncs held second place Fairfield University to 44 points just two days ago, a total Iona had before halftime.
For Rider (11-12, 6-6 MAAC) senior Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Inst. of Notre Dame) had 18 points, playing in her 100th career game.
Iona was led by Damika Martinez who had 31 points and she out-scored Rider in the opening half 24-20.
"Martinez is one of the top scorers and one of the top guards in the conference," Milligan said. "There's not much doubt about that. She clearly showed why today. She was on a mission and we didn't have an answer."
Rider led 2-0 on a jumper by Bopp before the Gaels responded with a 12-2 run over the next six minutes.
Trailing 12-4, Bopp scored on a layup to cut the Iona lead to six, seven minutes into the contest. The Gaels then used a 15-0 run, 10 points by Martinez to open up a 27-6 lead with 8:59 left in the first half.
Martinez finished the game 14-20 from the floor and added seven rebounds and six assists.
Iona led 49-20 at intermission.
The Gaels maintained a 30-point lead for most of the second half.
Also for Rider, junior MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco)) had 14 points on six for nine shooting.
Also for Iona, Joy Adams was 7-14 from the floor and finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds and Sabrina Jeridore made six of seven shots and scored 12 points with seven rebounds.
Iona shot 60 percent in the game, including 67 percent from three-point range. Rider was held to 34 percent shooting in the game.
"Iona shot the ball really well," Milligan added. "We missed some shots early and if they fall, it may or may not have changed things. Our transition defense was not up to par today."
This was the first meeting of the season between Rider and Iona. The teams split two regular season games in 2011-12 with the Gaels defeated Rider 61-60 in overtime in the MAAC playoffs. Iona leads the all-time series 22-13.
"We really pride ourselves on our defense and Iona threw that first punch and we didn't respond," Milligan added. "We need to figure this out and get past this."
Iona out-scored Rider 52-32 in the paint and the Gaels converted 12 fast break points.
The teams meet again in the final game of the regular season, March 3.
Rider travels to Siena on Friday for a MAAC game at 7pm.