The Campaign

Rider Hangs On To Top Siena, 72-70

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
         
Release: February 04, 2017
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Courtesy: Neil Davis
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – Junior Kamila Hoskova (Brno, Czech Republic/Sportovni Gymnazium Ludvika Danka) recorded her first career double-double thanks to a 20-point, 11-rebound performance to lead the Rider University women’s basketball team past visiting Siena, 72-70, on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium. The Broncs (17-6, 11-3 MAAC) have now won four straight games and completed the season sweep of the Saints (9-14, 8-6 MAAC).

“When you’re in tight games at the end of the season and you’re able to come out on top and execute offense the way you want it’s a good feeling,” Rider Head Coach Lynn Milligan said. “We’ve won our last three games on the final possession. It’s about execution, it’s about trust and our teammates believe in one another. There’s a belief with this team that if there’s time on the clock we still have a chance to win.”

Hoskova paced the Broncs with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while three other Rider players scored in double figures. Freshman guard Stella Johnson (Denville, NJ/Morris Catholic) had another strong game with 15 points, six rebounds, five steals and five assists. She knocked down 7-of-12 from the field and added a pair of blocks as well. Seniors Julia Duggan (Marmora, NJ/Ocean City) and Robin Perkins (Willingboro, NJ/Saint Francis (Pa.)/Trenton Catholic) both chipped in 10 points apiece for Rider.

Kollyns Scarbrough led the offensive charge for the guests with a game-high 23 points to go along with six rebounds and three steals. Jackie Benitez was the other Saint in double figures with 13 points thanks to hitting a trio of three-pointers.

Clinging to a one-point lead with under two and a half minutes to play, Hoskova grabbed an offensive rebound, drew a foul and knocked down a pair of free throws to give Rider a 66-63 lead. After a Siena basket, Hoskova again delivered, knocking down a mid-range jumper.

Trailing by three, Benitez hit a deep trey for Siena to knot the game at 70 with 32.6 seconds remaining. Hoskova answered again for Rider, drawing contact in the post and hitting a tough lay-up to give the hosts the lead back at 72-70 with 13 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Hoskova clamped down on Scarbrough forcing a miss and Johnson grabbed the rebound to seal it.

Both teams started slow, combining for just four field goals over the first five minutes of play, shooting 4-of-20 with seven turnovers. Rider senior guard Taylor Wentzel (Pittsburgh, PA/Baldwin) opened the scoring in the game with an old-fashioned three-point play after grabbing an offensive board. Following her made free throw, Siena went on a 6-2 run leading into the first quarter media timeout.

Back-and-forth the two teams would go, before a quick 5-0 spurt gave Rider a 12-10 lead with two and a half to go in the opening quarter. Perkins knocked down a three from the wing and after a Siena miss, sophomore guard Lexi Posset (Pittsburgh, PA/Beaver Area) found senior forward Yeliz Dogan (Izmir, Turkey/Antalya Koleji) in transition for a lay-up.  The guests would close out the first frame on an 8-4 run capped by a drive and score from Joella Gibson to give Siena an 18-16 edge heading into the second.

Johnson scored four points early in the second as her drive and score gave the Broncs a 22-21 advantage with seven minutes left in the first half. Through the first 16 minutes of play neither team led by more than one possession until Johnson hit a left-handed floater to give Rider a 28-24 edge. The Rider defense clamped down to close the second, allowing just three Siena made field goals over the final eight minutes. The guests scored the final points of the half as Scarbrough converted a three-point play to cut the deficit to five. Rider took a 36-31 lead into the break. The see-saw contest saw 12 lead changes and six ties through the first 20 minutes of play.

Rider started the third quarter on a 7-2 run capped by a trey in transition from Johnson to stretch their lead to 10 at 43-33. During the opening spurt, Hoskova had four points thanks a lay-up and a pair of free throws. The Bronc lead would balloon to 13 at 48-35 following a trey from Posset and a steal and lay-up from Johnson. Siena would answer with four unanswered to cut the deficit to single digits before a Perkins jumper gave Rider a 50-39 lead.

The Broncs had another strong quarter, outscoring the guests by five, 19-14, to take an eight-point lead at 55-47 into the final 10 minutes. Freshman guard Safie Tolusso (Vevey, Switzerland/Honore d'Estinne d'Orves) capped the scoring the in the quarter for Rider with a three from the corner off a crosscourt pass by Johnson.  

Siena scored the first seven points of the final quarter to cut the deficit to just one at 55-54 thanks to a trey from Jackie Benitez. Rider’s first points of the fourth came on a Perkins three from the left wing to stretch the lead back to four at 58-54. The Saints would again cut the deficit to one at 64-63 following an offensive rebound a putback by Scarbrough with 2:26 left in the game.

Rider never trailed in the second half. The Broncs are now 13-1 when leading at halftime this season and an impressive 5-1 in conference play in games decided by five or fewer points. The 17 wins is the most for the team under Milligan and the 11 MAAC wins are the most in program history.

The Broncs return to action on Friday, February 10, with a road conference clash against Iona that is slated to get underway at 7:00 pm. In the first meeting between the two teams earlier this season, Rider scored an 85-65 win in Lawrenceville.  
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The Campaign