Women's College Basketball
Siena College 57, Rider University 44
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Game
LAWRENCEVILLE--Freshman MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco)) had her third 'double-double' in a row but it was not enough as the Rider University women's basketball team lost a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game to Siena College on Monday evening.
McKenzie, a two-time MAAC Rookie of the Week, finished with a career-high 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds, shooting seven for 12 from the field including a career-high five three-pointers in 38 minutes of play.
"Mac is playing out of her mind right now," said head coach Lynn Milligan. "For a freshman to step up and play the minutes I'm asking her to play and to do everything I'm asking her to do, I can't say enough great things about her. She is making a pretty good case for herself for MAAC Rookie of the Year."
Rider (3-22, 3-11 MAAC) jumped out to a 6-1 lead 1:39 into the game, three points each by McKenzie and sophomore Shereen Lightbourne (Elmsford, N.Y./.Alexander Hamilton). Lightbourne finished with three points, three rebounds, five assists and two steals in 32 minutes of play.
Trailing 9-4, Siena (10-14, 8-6 MAAC) went on an 18-2 run, seven points by Maja Gerlyng opening up an 11 point lead (22-11) with 6:53 left in the opening half. Gerlyng finished with 14 points to go along with three steals, two assists and two rebounds.
Leading 23-15, Siena ended the half on a 12-0 run, five points by Christina Centeno who led the Saints with 19 points, six assists and five rebounds and Siena led 35-15 at intermission.
"Centeno is a terrific player," Milligan said. "She is a tough, tough kid. Her team needed her to step up because I thought we did a pretty good job on Serena. I think we frustrated her a little in the first half and she did get in some foul trouble so her minutes were down. Centeno is a fighter. When your best player is not getting the touches she is used to getting, someone has to step up and she did that for them tonight. She did a fantastic job."
Rider held Saint leading scorer Serena Moore to four points. Moore entered the game averaging 14.9 points per game and now needs six points to reach 1,000 in her career.
"The first half we weren't clicking offensively or defensively," said Milligan. "That hurt us and we turned the ball over (17 times) a lot in the first half. We played a terrible first twenty minutes of the ball game. We responded in the second half and played a solid twenty minutes but we wasted an opportunity by only playing one half tonight."
Trailing 41-21, the Broncs cut the Saint lead to 14 (51-37) with 4:41 left but that was as close as Rider could get until a three-pointer by red-shirt sophomore Alyssa Parsons (Ivyland, Pa./Archbishop Wood) for the final score. Parsons finished with three points.
Also for the Broncs, sophomore Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) had nine points and 10 rebounds.
The Broncs committed 24 turnovers in the game and were held to 31.4 percent from the field (16-51). Siena converted the Bronc turnovers into 21 points.
This was the 31st meeting all-time between Rider and Siena with the Saints holding a 27-4 series lead and Siena has won the last eight in a row over the Broncs including a 53-42 win over Rider in Loudonville, New York on January 8 to sweep the season series.
Rider makes its annual Western, New York trip to take on Niagara at 7pm Friday and Canisius at 2pm on Sunday.
"The Buffalo trip is a big trip every year," Milligan said. "You are away from campus and I kind of like that. I think it will be good for us to get away for a little bit. We have to go up there and play well. We haven't won on the road yet this year (0-11) so this is a big trip for us. We have to establish that we can win somewhere else than on our home floor. This is going to be a big trip and we have a couple days to get ready for it and we will be."
Rider has not played Niagara this season and defeated Canisius 68-58 on January 10 in Alumni Gym. The Purple Eagles (0-14 MAAC) dropped a 67-41 decision at Loyola Maryland Monday night.