Women’s College Basketball
Quinnipiac University 71, Rider University 59
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Game
HAMDEN, Conn.—The Rider University women’s basketball team gave Quinnipiac University a battle before losing to the host Bobcats 71-59 on Friday afternoon in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game at the TD Bank Sports Center.
“Quinnipiac wore us down a little bit,” said head coach Lynn Milligan. “The bottom line is that we just didn’t play very well today. We didn’t put the ball in the basket, missing free throws and lay ups. Some wide open looks didn’t drop. They are a team that scores a lot of points and we didn’t keep pace offensively.”
The Broncs were 21-31 from the free throw line.
Rider was led by senior MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco)) who had 22 points and six rebounds.
McKenzie entered the game as the second leading scorer and rebounder in the conference and this was her fifth 20 plus point game in a row and the 11th of her career.
Trailing 35-34, Quinnipiac (8-6, 3-1 MAAC) went on a 12-0 run, six points by Nikoline Ostergaard, taking a 46-35 lead with 12:48 left in the game, the seventh and final lead change of the contest.
Ostergaard finished with 13 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench.
The Bobcats pushed their lead to 21 (59-38) with 8:13 left in the game with the Broncs cutting the deficit back to 11 with under five minutes remaining.
Quinnipiac was led by Brittany McQuain who had 22 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, with three assists and two blocks in 31 minutes.
Trailing 31-24, Rider (5-7, 1-2 MAAC), opened the second half scoring 11 of the first 14 points of the period, five points by McKenzie as the Broncs went into the lead 35-34 with 16:36 remaining in the game.
Rider opened the game on a 4-0 run, 2:48 into the game, two points each by McKenzie and red-shirt sophomore Manon Pellet (Marseille, France). In 33 minutes of play, Pellet finished with seven points and a career-high nine rebounds (three offensive) to go along with two assists and two steals.
Trailing 21-17, Rider rallied with a 5-0 run, three points by sophomore Mikal Johnson (Manassas, Va./Osbourn) as the Broncs went back into the lead 22-21. Johnson played 36 minutes and had 12 points, three steals and two rebounds.
The Bobcats responded by finishing the half on a 10-2 run as Quinnipiac went into the locker room leading 31-24 at intermission.
Also for the Broncs junior Marritta Gillcrease (Pittsburgh, Pa./Perry Traditional Academy) had six points and eight rebounds, while adding three blocks in 33 minutes of play with freshman Stephanie Mason (Jackson/Jackson Memorial) compiling five points in only 11 minutes of play.
“Marritta held her own and did a decent job,” said Milligan. “Rita’s minutes have been going up and she is giving us results. She is getting blocked shots and getting tipped balls and hustling by getting on the floor for us. She does a lot of things that don’t show up on the score sheet. She communicates and is an energy kid who is doing a solid job.”
The Bobcats held a 51-40 rebounding advantage.
Rider was held to 29 percent shooting with the Bobcats making 41 percent of their shots, including 50 percent in the second half.
This was the second meeting all-time between Rider and Quinnipiac with the Bobcats winning both games. Last season, Quinnipiac defeated the Broncs in the title game of the Brown Bear Classic Tournament 72-57.
The teams meet again in 18 days, on January 21, 2014 at 7 p.m., in Alumni Gymnasium.
Rider travels to Monmouth University for a MAAC game on Sunday at 2 p.m., in West Long Branch, New Jersey, the third game in a row away from home.
“Everyone in the conference has the grind of the opening week,” Milligan said. “We have three games in seven days and all on the road. I’m not making excuses because all of the teams have this type of stretch in their schedule. It is what it is and we need to step up regardless of the circumstances. We’ll get home, regroup and get ready for Sunday.”