The Campaign

Clutch Free-Throw Shooting Helps Rider Edge Monmouth, 71-69

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
         
Release: February 02, 2017
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Courtesy: Neil Davis
WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – Senior guard Robin Perkins (Willingboro, NJ/Trenton Catholic [Saint Francis Univ.]) delivered the late-game heroics once again, hitting a pair of free-throws with 3.7 seconds left in regulation to lead the Rider University women’s basketball team past Monmouth, 71-69, on Thursday evening at the OceanFirst Bank Center. The Broncs (16-6, 10-3 MAAC) moved into a first-place tie in the league standings following their third straight win, while the Hawks (10-11, 5-7 MAAC) dropped their second conference game in a row.

Rider erased a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit by holding Monmouth to just five points over the final 3:02 of regulation.

“I told the team that the fourth quarter had to be our best 10 minutes of defense of the season,” Rider Head Coach Lynn Milligan said. “I don’t know if it was our best, but we got stops, we got steals and we did what we had to do to win.

It was a balanced offensive attack for Rider as four different players scored in double figures led by Perkins with a game-high 20 points. Perkins knocked down 9-of-12 from the free-throw line for the Broncs. Senior forward Julia Duggan (Marmora, NJ/Ocean City) scored 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting to go along with six rebounds and a season-high six steals, while junior Kamila Hoskova (Brno, Czech Republic/Sportovni Gymnazium Ludvika Danka) chipped in 13 points thanks to a 6-of-6 showing at the charity stripe. Freshman guard Stella Johnson (Denville, NJ/Morris Catholic) added 12 points, five rebounds and three steals for the guests.

Two Monmouth players scored in double figures in the game, highlighted by Tyrese Purvis pouring in 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting from three-point range. Kayla Shaw added 11 points for the Hawks on 4-of-6 shooting.

Monmouth opened the game on a 6-0 run over the first 90 seconds of action. During the spurt, the Hawks forced a pair of Bronc turnovers and hit three of their first four shots. All three of the Monmouth baskets early were lay-ups. Rider would cut into the lead with back-to-back baskets before the hosts answered with another 6-4 run to take a 12-8 edge into the first quarter media timeout.

Coming out of the media timeout, the hosts would hit a pair of three-pointers and two free throws to stretch their lead to 12 at 20-8 with 3:42 left in the opening quarter. The Broncs would answer with the final five points of the quarter capped by a lay-up from Duggan to trail by seven at 20-13 after one. Neither team would score over the final two minutes of the stanza.

Back-and-forth the two conference foes would go early in the second frame as a mid-range jumper by Johnson in transition followed brought Rider to within three at 24-21. Monmouth would maintain the lead throughout the remainder of the half as Purvis knocked down three treys. On two separate occasions, Rider pulled within four points and Monmouth would answer with a Purvis three on the ensuing possession.

The Broncs scored the last five points of the half capped by a pair of free throws from Hoskova with 12 seconds left to cut the deficit to just two at 35-33 heading into halftime. Rider ended the first two quarters strong, holding the Hawks without a point in the final two minutes of each frame.

Monmouth shot 63 percent in the first half, but the Broncs forced 16 turnovers to stay in the game. The biggest difference on the stat sheet in the opening half was three-point shooting. Rider connected on 2-of-10 attempts from deep, while the Hawks hit 5-of-8.

Rider would score the first basket of the second half to tie the game at 35 thanks to a nice post move and lay-in from Duggan. Over the next five minutes, Monmouth would reel off 12 straight points, highlighted by hitting three three-pointers to take a 47-35 lead. The Broncs cut the deficit to seven at 47-40 following a jumper from the right elbow from Duggan with four minutes left in the quarter. Following Duggan’s jumper, Rider would not make another basket in the quarter as their final six points of the third came at the free-throw line. A three-pointer from the wing by Shaw would give the Hawks a 54-46 edge entering the final 10 minutes of action.

Rider would three-pointers on each of its first two possessions of the fourth, but Monmouth would answer. With just under seven minutes remaining in regulation, Purvis hit a contested three at the top of the key to stretch the Hawk lead back to double digits at 62-52. The Broncs would answer with six unanswered points capped by a pair of free throws from Perkins to make it a two-possession game at 62-58 with five minutes left.

Rider would pull to within one with just over two minutes remaining as Johnson stole the ball at midcourt and went in for a lay-up and drew a foul. Her good free throw made it 66-65 Monmouth. After the Hawks made one of two at the free-throw line, Rider sophomore guard Lexi Posset (Pittsburgh, PA/Beaver Area) drew a foul on a drive and hit both free throws to tie the game at 67 with just over a minute left in regulation.

“You have to play to the end,” Milligan added. “They threw it at us today. When we’re down and we’re in that huddle there’s not a look of what do we do coach. They’re going to play to the last whistle and sometimes it’s not pretty, but they never stop working hard.”

For the game, Monmouth shot an impressive 65 percent (11-17) from beyond the arc, while Rider knocked down 4-of-17 attempts from deep. Rider forced 29 Hawk turnovers and took 21 more free-throw attempts than the hosts. 

Rider improved to 7-1 on the road in conference play this season. The 16 wins marks the highest total for the Broncs under Milligan. 

The Broncs return to action on Saturday, February 4, with a home conference clash against Siena that is slated to begin at 2:00 pm inside Alumni Gymnasium. Earlier this season, Rider stunned the Saints with nine points in the final 28 seconds to score a 62-61 victory on the road. 
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The Campaign