Women's College Basketball
Saint Peter's College 65, Rider University 54
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Game
LAWRENCEVILLE--The Broncs lost a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game to Saint Peter's Sunday afternoon.
"We got to the rim and got the ball in the paint and the shots just didn't fall," said head coach Lynn Milligan. "We have to do a better job of putting the ball in the basket."
With the scored tied at 44-44, Saint Peter's (2-15, 2-4 MAAC) went on a 15-5 run, five points by Jesika Holmes, to take a 59-49 lead with 1:29 left to play. Holmes finished with six points off the bench.
SPC made seven of 12 foul shots in the final 1:13 to preserve the win.
"Take away the fouling at the end and we hold them under 60," Milligan said. "We got the defensive effort that we needed but didn't make enough shots to win the game. We certainly got the looks but they didn't go in. Our biggest issue was not making shots."
Rider (10-7, 2-4 MAAC) out-scored Saint Peter's 9-3 to start the second half, seven points by junior Sironda Chambers (Newark, Del.), to take a 35-33 lead, Rider's first lead since 3-2. Chambers finished with 16 points and five rebounds in 28 minutes but shot only four of 19 from the field.
"Sironda is going to play hard all the way through," Milligan said. "She did a great job getting to the basket; the ball just didn't fall for her. She did her best to get to the line and that was a positive."
Chambers was seven for nine from the charity stripe.
Rider sophomore MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco)) was held to just four points but grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds.
"Mac helped limit the Saint Peter's opportunities with her rebounding," Milligan said. "She got us some tough rebounds."
McKenzie, who had four rebounds on the offensive glass, leads the MAAC and ranks 20th in the nation in rebounding.
Saint Peter's was led by junior forward Kristal Edwards, who compiled 16 points and 12 rebounds. Edwards came into the game averaging just 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
The score was tied at 16-16 before SPC went on a 7-0 run, three points by Edwards, to take a 23-16 lead with 6:47 left in the first half and the Peahens led 30-26 at intermission.
With the scored tied at 4-4, SPC out-scored Rider 8-2, all eight points by Edwards, to take a 12-6 lead after three and a half minutes of play.
Rider was held to 28 percent shooting including one for 12 from three-point range.
This was Rider's first game without senior sharp shooter Ali Heller (Boca Raton Fla./St. Andrews) who suffered a knee injury at Iona last Friday. Heller entered the week 26th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 40 percent from long range.
Saint Peter's shot 36 percent and out-rebounded the Broncs 53-45.
Each team had 17 turnovers and each team scored 17 times from the free throw line.
Saint Peter's held an 18-7 advantage in point off of turnovers and had a 34-28 advantage on points in the paint.
"On defense, we missed four or five box outs and that caused the defense to get worn down a bit," Milligan added. "We gave Saint Peter's too many second chances."
Saint Peter's began the season 0-15 before defeating Loyola on Friday.
Rider and Saint Peter's have now met 50 times since the series began in 1975-76, with Rider winning nine. SPC ended Rider's season last year in the MAAC Tournament.
Rider defeated Saint Peter's in overtime, 70-69, exactly one year ago today at Rider.
The teams meet again February 24 in Jersey City.
Over 600 fans were in attendance as Rider celebrated Alumni Day with 20 former Bronc players participating in a game prior to the Saint Peter's~Rider matchup.
Rider has lost two straight.
The Broncs travel to first place and six-time defending conference champion Marist Wednesday. The Red Foxes improved to 6-0 in the MAAC with a 63-44 win over Niagara on Sunday, their sixth win in a row and 30th straight MAAC win.
The Red Foxes won in Lawrenceville 82-56 on January 7.
"It's the next game on the schedule," Milligan said about Wednesday night. "We need to work hard the next two days to get better as a team so we are ready to go up there to win a ball game."