Women's College Basketball
Fairfield University 49, Rider University 30
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Game
LAWRENCEVILLE--Junior Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) compiled 11 points and eight rebounds, but it was not enough, as Rider lost a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game to Fairfield Sunday afternoon.
Fairfield (22-7, 15-3 MAAC), the second seed in the upcoming ten-team MAAC tournament, out-scored Rider 10-3 to start the second half, five points by Alexys Vazquez, to take a 36-21 lead with 14:52 left to play. Vazquez finished with five points and five rebounds.
Fairfield was led by Katelyn Linney, who compiled 13 points and four assists.
"I thought we played solid defense today," said head coach Lynn Milligan. You hold a team like Fairfield to 49 points, that's a positive. We just haven't been scoring enough on the offensive end and that was apparent again today."
The Broncs (11-18, 3-15 MAAC) scored five unanswered points, three from sophomore Alicia Hall (Silver Spring, Md./JFK) to cut the lead to 43-30, but that was as close as the Broncs could get.
The 30 points scored is a season low for Rider. The previous season low was 35, also against Fairfield.
Junior Carleigh Brown (Philadelphia, Pa./Nazareth Academy) added five points and nine rebounds off the Rider bench.
Rider sophomore MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield-Delco) grabbed eight rebounds off the bench but shot 0-11 in the game.
Bopp scored Rider's first seven points of the game but played just seven minutes in the first half due to foul trouble.
Fairfield scored the final four points of the first half to take a 26-18 lead at intermission.
Trailing 12-2, Rider out-scored Fairfield 11-4, five points by Bopp, to cut the lead to 16-13 with 7:41 left in the first half.
Fairfield jumped out to a 12-2 lead, six points by Taryn Johnson, as Rider made just one of its first 10 shots while Fairfield made six of its first eight shots. Johnson finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Rider out-rebounded Fairfield 42-38.
"I was happy with how we went after some of the 50-50 balls," Milligan said. "We just have to keep plugging away. We played young today."
Both teams struggled from the free throw line with each shooting six for 14 (43 percent).
Senior Sarah Homan (Upper Darby, Pa./Delco Christian) played in her 114th straight game and her final home game Sunday. Homan is now the Rider career leader with 118 games played, passing Amanda Sepulveda who saw action in 117 games from 2007-2010.
All four Rider seniors started on Senior Day, including a pair of injured seniors, Alyssa Parsons (Ivyland, Pa./Archbishop Wood) and Ali Heller (Boca Raton, Fla./St. Andrews), but were immediately replaced on the floor. Heller played in 91 games in her career before tearing her ACL, making 106 three-pointers. Parsons started every game this season as the point guard and has played in 78 games in her injury-riddled career but also tore her ACL on Friday in a one-point loss at Saint Peter's.
"The seniors are a great group of young ladies," Milligan added. "They have been with us through thick and thin and you can't say enough about their dedication to the program. They are terrific students and they will be missed."
Fairfield swept the season series, winning 51-35 on February 2 at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut and the Stags lead the all-time series 30-3 including six straight over the Broncs.
Rider was held without a three-point field goal (0-3) for the first time at home since January 12, 2006 when the Broncs went 0-6 against Niagara, a span of 89 home games.
Rider will now play Thursday, March 1 at 12 noon in the first round of the MAAC Championship tournament against the seventh seed Gaels from Iona College.
The Broncs split with Iona, losing 64-50 on January 13 in New Rochelle, New York before winning against the Gaels 80-76 on February 17 in Alumni Gym.
Rider and Iona have split two MAAC playoff games with the Broncs winning 63-55 in 2000-01 before losing to the Gaels 55-52 in 2001-02.