The Campaign

Late Rally Falls Short for Rider in the MAAC Championship

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
         
Release: March 06, 2017
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Courtesy: Stockton Photo
ALBANY, NY – In their first-ever MAAC Tournament Championship game, the No. 2 seed Rider University women’s basketball team saw its fourth-quarter rally fall short in an 81-73 setback against top-seeded Quinnipiac on Monday evening at the Times Union Center. The Broncs (24-8) scored 31 points over the final 10 minutes, but the Bobcats (27-6) held on to capture the conference crown.

“I thought it was a hard-fought and physical game,” Rider Head Coach Lynn Milligan said. “We played Rider basketball the way we are supposed to and we played the type of game that got us where we are. Foul trouble hurt a little in the first half and in the third quarter made some good adjustments offensively. “  

Four Broncs scored in double figures led by senior Julia Duggan (Marmora, NJ/Ocean City) with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Duggan also pulled down nine boards and blocked one shot. Junior Kamila Hoskova (Brno, Czech Republic (Sportovni Gymnazium Ludvika Danka) had 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting, while both sophomore Lexi Posset (Pittsburgh, PA/Beaver Area) and freshman Stella Johnson (Denville, NJ/Morris Catholic) chipped in 14 points.

Three Bobcats scored in double figures, highlighted by Aryn McClure netting a game-high 28 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Jen Fay recorded a double-double thanks to a 16-point, 10-rebound performance, while Adily Martucci also had 16 points thanks to an eight-point outburst in the third.

Rider started the game on a 4-0 run over the first two minutes of action with Johnson hitting a pair of shots. Quinnipiac missed its first four shots from the field before McClure knocked down a shot to cut the deficit to one at 4-3.

Offensive rebounds were key for Quinnipiac early as they grabbed five over the first five minutes to produce four second-chance points. Rider would stretch its lead back to four at 9-5 heading into the first quarter media timeout as Hoskova converted an old-fashioned three-point play. Hoskova’s basket started a 9-0 Rider run as a pair of free throws from Taylor Wentzel (Pittsburgh, PA/Baldwin) stretched the Bronc lead to 10 at 15-5 with 3:27 left in the first quarter.  

McClure would end the Bronc run with a jumper from the foul line to cut the deficit to eight at 15-7. With under a minute left in the first quarter, the Bobcats got the final four points of the frame courtesy of two buckets from McClure. It was McClure versus Johnson early on as the two players combined to score 19 first-quarter points.

Rider led Quinnipiac, 17-11, after 10 minutes of play. The Broncs jumped out to an early lead thanks to holding the Bobcats to 27 percent (5-18) shooting and forcing six turnovers. Quinnipiac was able to get back in the game as Rider would go the final 3:54 of the first without a made field goal. In the first quarter, McClure was 4-of-5 shooting and the rest of the Bobcats were a combined 1-of-13.

Quinnipiac started the second quarter on a 7-2 run to pull within one at 19-18 following a three from the wing by Fay. On the ensuing possession the Broncs would answer as Posset knocked a triple of her own to make it a two-possession game in favor of Rider at 22-18 with six minutes left in the half.

Following another trey from Posset to give Rider a 25-18 lead, QU reeled off five in a row to cut the deficit to two at 25-23. Later in the quarter, Posset would bank a jumper off the glass and in from the top of the key and Quinnipiac responded on the other end with another basket by McClure to trim the deficit to one at 29-28.

With under a minute remaining in the half, McClure would hit a pair of free throws to give Quinnipiac its first lead of the game at 30-29. On the final possession of the second quarter, Rider missed a pair of shots as the Bobcats took a one-point lead into the break. Quinnipiac rallied in the second thanks to hitting 57 percent (7-12) of its shots.

Quinnipiac got the first seven of the first nine points of the second half to hold a six-point lead at 37-31 following a triple from the top of the key by Paula Strautmane two minutes in. After a Rider miss, the Bobcats would knock down another three this time from Fay to lead by nine at 40-31.

Rider would come back to make it a five-point game thanks a lay-up in transition from senior Yeliz Dogan (Izmir, Turkey/Western Nebraska CC/Antalya Koleji) to make it a 42-37 game in favor of the Bobcats midway through the stanza. Quinnipiac would answer with 10 of the next 12 points to stretch the lead to 13 at 52-39 following a pull-up from Martucci with under two minutes left in the quarter. Duggan put an end the Bobcat run with a long two from the corner with 45 seconds left in the third.

Duggan would score the final three points of the quarter as the Broncs trailed 53-42 heading into the final. Rider shot over 42 percent (6-14) from the field in the third, but the Bobcats hit 10-of-21 shots to take a double-digit lead.

Three minutes into the fourth quarter, Quinnipiac took a 14-point lead following at 60-46 courtesy of three-pointer from Fay. With just over six minutes remaining, Hoskova hit a shot from the foul-line extended to pull within 13 at 61-48.

The teams traded baskets of the next three minutes before a runner from Hoskova cut the deficit to 11 at 65-54 with 3:40 left in regulation. Quinnipiac would answer the Bronc baskets once again and top-seed in the tournament would take 15-point at 71-56 after a pair of free throws from McClure.  

With 90 seconds remaining, Hoskova hit an uncontested three from the top of the key to cut it to an 11-point deficit at 72-61. After a stop, Posset hit a pair of free throws to make it a nine-point game. Posset wasn’t done as she would steal the inbounds pass and get fouled. She would hit both of her free attempts the cut into the lead and make it a 72-65 Quinnipiac lead.

The Rider rally would continue as Quinnipiac turned it over again on the inbounds pass and Duggan converted a three-point play to cut the deficit to four at 72-68. The free throw from Duggan capped a 7-0 Bronc run.

Quinnipiac would hit a pair of free throws and after two Bronc missed shots, the Bobcats would add three more from the charity stripe to lead, 77-68, with 27.2 seconds remaining. Duggan would knock down her first career three-pointer (in her 123rd game) to make it a six-point game and Rider would foul on the inbounds pass.

Martucci would two free throws and the Broncs would turn it over. Quinnipiac had no field goals over the final three minutes of play as Rider cut the deficit just four. The Bobcats would hit their free throws down the stretch, going 9-of-9 from the line in fourth to hold on.  

Posset and Duggan both came on offensively in the fourth quarter. Duggan hit 6-of-10 shots in the frame to pour in 16 of her 23 points, while Posset had six points thanks to hitting all four of her free-throw attempts.  

For the game Rider shot over 41 percent (26-63), while the Bobcats knocked down 44 percent (26-58) from the field. The Bobcats won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Broncs, 41-30. Both team’s had 10 assists.

“This doesn’t just happen in one year,” Milligan added. “The foundation was set the day this group of seniors came into this program. They have worked hard for me every day. It takes special people to build something and what these seniors have done for this program is immeasurable.”
Following the conclusion of the contest, Duggan was named to the All-Championship Team. In three games over the course of the Championship, Duggan averaged 19.0 points and 14.7 rebounds.

By virtue of finishing second in the regular season and top-seeded Quinnipiac’s win, Rider earns the conference’s automatic bid to the WNIT. The Broncs will know their draw when the field is announced in a week.
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The Campaign