Anything But Average
Women’s College Basketball
Rider Wraps Up One of Its Most Successful Seasons
LAWRENCEVILLE—The final record may say .500 (15-15), but the Rider University women’s basketball team was anything but average during the 2012-13 season.
Rider’s 15 victories were the fifth most in the 74-year history of the program and the Broncs had their most wins since the 1994-95 season when Rider was 16-12.
14 of the 30 games were decided by seven points or less in 2012-13.
Rider tied its best MAAC record and finish at 10-8, finishing fourth in the conference. The Broncs entered the season with 10 MAAC series sweeps in 15 seasons and Rider swept five conference opponents (Fairfield, Loyola, Manhattan, Saint Peter’s and Siena) during the year.
The Broncs won nine times on the road, tying for the 36th most road wins in the nation.
Junior MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco)) became the first Bronc in Rider’s 16 seasons in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to earn First Team All-Conference honors and she was recently named to the All-Met Second Team by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association.
McKenzie is the first All-Met honoree since Bronc Hall of Famer Jessica Beck who scored over 1,000 points and had over 1,000 rebounds in her stellar Rider career.
A Third Team selection last year as a sophomore and an All-Rookie Team pick as a freshman, McKenzie was second in the MAAC in rebounding (9.8) and fourth in scoring (14.2), earning Rider team Most Valuable Player honors at the end of the season banquet.
McKenzie started 29 of 30 games and led the Broncs in scoring, rebounds, steals (58), assists (50) and minutes (34.7).
McKenzie enters her senior season needing five points to become the 19th 1,000 point scorer at Rider and she is currently fifth all time on Rider’s career rebound list.
Senior Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) was named to the All-MAAC Third team.
Bopp, a former All-Rookie Team selection, was second in the MAAC in blocks (56), fourth in rebounding (9.1), seventh in field goal percentage (45.9) and 17th in scoring averaging 9.9 points per game.
Bopp was named Rider’s Defensive Player of the Year for the 2012-13 season and graduates as just the second player in team history to score over 900 points and pull down over 900 rebounds.
A veteran of 107 games, Bopp compiled 945 points and finished second on Rider’s all-time rebound list with 925.
A 5-8 guard, Johnson appeared in 29 games, making six starts and led the team with 37 three-pointers while ranking third on the team in three-point field goal percentage and fifth in scoring, steals and minutes and sixth in blocks.
Senior Sironda Chambers (Wilmington, Del./Harcum) started all 30 games as a senior and led the team in three-point field goal percentage while finishing second on the team in scoring, minutes, three-pointers made, steals and free throw percentage and third in rebounds and assists and fifth in field goal percentage.
Chambers earned the Coaches’ Award at the end of the season banquet.
Fazzini, from Wayne, Pennsylvania (Archbishop Carroll) is a Business Administration major with a 3.30 grade point average, Valiuskyte, from Siaulai, Lithunaia, (The Rock School) is a sophomore Biology major with a 3.30 grade point average, Brown, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Nazareth Academy) is a graduate student with a 3.20 grade point average and Gillcrease, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, (Perry Traditional) is a sophomore Business Administration major with a 3.20 grade point average.
Fazzini was named the team’s academic award winner at the end of the season banquet.
A 5-10 guard, Fazzini played in the last 26 games after missing the first four contests of the season with an ankle injury and she was second on the team in three-point field goal percentage (.311), third in three-pointers made (1.2) and fourth in scoring (6.4), field goals made (2.2), steals (1.1) and free throw percentage (.800) and was fifth in assists (1.2).
Gillcrease was named the team Practice Player of the Year.
A 6-3, forward/center, Gillcrease appeared in 25 games, all off the bench and was third on the team in blocks.
Carleigh Brown tied the Rider record for games played with 119. C. Brown led the team in free throw percentage and was fourth on the team in rebounds, assists and blocks, sixth in scoring and field goal percentage and finished 15th on Rider’s all-time rebound list with 504.
Earning team Most Improved Player honors was senior Dior Brown.
A 5-6 guard from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (Upper Darby HS), D. Brown played in 29 games, making one start and graduates as a 108-game veteran.
D. Brown was third on the team in field goal percentage and seventh in scoring, averaging 11.9 minutes per game.
Also honored at the banquet was Dana Lopes with the team Unsung Hero award. Lopes is the Director of Rider’s Student Support Services.
Rider returns nine players for the 2013-14 season and the Broncs will also see the return of red-shirt junior Shereen Lightbourne (Elmsford, N.Y./Alexander Hamilton) who missed the last two season with a knee injury and junior Lashay Banks (Philadelphia, Pa./Prep Charter) who sat out this season as a transfer from Cincinnati.
The Rider University women’s basketball team in 2012-13, anything but average.