Fairfield 52, Rider 50
Women’s College Basketball
Fairfield University 52, Rider University 50
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Game
BRIDGEPORT, Conn.—Despite a career-high 22 points from sophomore Mikal Johnson (Manassas, Va./Osbourn), the Rider University women’s basketball team saw its three-game winning streak snapped at Fairfield University on Thursday evening in a game seen on ESPN 3.
The game was played at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
Trailing 50-49, Fairfield’s Brittany Obi-Tabot converted a three-point play with 3.1 seconds left for the final score.
Johnson played 39 minutes and pulled down eight rebounds, while hitting five three-pointers in the contest.
“Mikal played a terrific game she was very focused,” said head coach Lynn Milligan. “She really picked us up when MyNeshia was out. I thought she did a great job”.
Rider leading scorer and MAAC Player of the Year candidate MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco)) found herself in early foul trouble and played only five minutes of the opening half. Limited to 25 minutes overall, McKenzie finished with six points and 11 rebounds.
Rider (12-12, 8-7 MAAC) had taken a 50-49 lead with 35 seconds remaining on two free throws from graduate-student Shereen Lightbourne (Elmsford, N.Y./Alexander Hamilton). Lightbourne finished with those two points in 16 minutes off the bench.
Trailing 48-43, the Stags converted six straight free throws to take a 49-48 lead with 54 seconds remaining.
The game had 10 ties and 10 lead changes.
“The score always seems to be in the 50s and always a battle of wills and execution,” said head coach Lynn Milligan who saw her team lose for the first time in February. “The game went down to the wire, the way most people thought it was going to.”
Trailing 41-38, Rider went on a 10-2 run, eight points by Johnson as the Broncs took a 48-43 lead with 3:44 remaining in the game.
Fairfield (16-8, 13-4 MAAC) opened the game on a 6-0 run, four points by Obi-Tabot before Johnson made a layup with 15:21 left in the opening half.
Trailing 10-4, Rider tied the game 10-10, four points by sophomore Manon Pellet (Marseille, France). Pellet finished with six points in 32 minutes of play.
The balance of the opening half was a defensive battle with neither team scoring for 5:50 before Pellet made a field goal with eight seconds left, sending Rider into the locker room leading 22-20.
Fairfield was led by seniors Katie Cizynski and Felicia DaCruz. Cizynski led the Stags with 15 points while DaCruz scored 14.
Rider was five for 10 from the free throw line, while Fairfield was 14-19 (74 percent).
“They’re a great executing team, they ran a play and we just weren’t disciplined enough at the end,” Milligan added. “When push came to shove they just out executed us.”
Fairfield defeated Rider 67-61 in Lawrenceville on December 29.
With the series sweep, the Stags have now won 32 of 37 games all-time in the series. Rider swept the conference series last season.
Rider travels to first place Iona College on Sunday.