The Campaign

Rider Pulls Away for MAAC Win at Iona

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
         
Release: February 10, 2017
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Courtesy: Neil Davis
NEW ROCHELLE, NY – Senior forward Julia Duggan (Marmora, NJ/Ocean City) recorded her team-leading seventh double-double of the season as the Rider University women’s basketball team topped Iona, 52-36, on Friday evening at the Hynes Center. The Broncs (18-6, 12-3 MAAC) won their fifth straight game and swept the season series against the Gaels (15-9, 10-5 MAAC). The 36 points allowed are tied for the fewest under Head Coach Lynn Milligan. Earlier this season, the Broncs allowed 36 points in a conference road win at Manhattan.

“Our defense today was huge,” Milligan said. “We followed our game plan personnel wise absolutely perfect. That needed to happen against team like Iona that has two high-powered guards that can score so well. I think our guards did a good job keeping them off balance.”

Duggan notched her seventh double-double of the season behind a 14-point, 12-rebound performance. She also added four steals and knocked down all four of her free-throw attempts. Freshman guard Stella Johnson (Denville, NJ/Morris Catholic) was the other Broncs in double figures with 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Johnson also added five steals, six rebounds and three assists as she continues to fill out the stat sheet for Rider.

Karynda DuPree paced the Iona attack with 12 points thanks to a 6-of-7 showing at the free-throw line. DuPree also added six rebounds and two blocks for the Gaels.   Alexis Lewis was the other Iona player in double figures with 10 points thanks to hitting two shots from three-point range. Rider did a good job defensively on three-time MAAC Player of the Week Marina Lizarazu, limiting her to just six points on 2-of-13 shooting to go along with six turnovers.

The Broncs ended the game on a 9-0 run to improve to 8-1 on the road in conference play this season. Rider is now 14-1 on the year when leading at halftime.

Iona jumped out to an early 4-2 edge through three and a half minutes of play as Rider made just 1-of-7 early before a Duggan offensive board and put back tied the game at four. After an Iona three, back-to-back baskets from Johnson and Duggan gave the guests their first lead of the game at 8-7.

After falling behind, 7-4, Rider ended the first quarter on a 6-2 run to take a 10-9 advantage into the second. On the final possession of the opening frame, Duggan blocked a shot in the post to cap her strong quarter. She had six points, four rebounds, one block and one steal in the first. Pressure was a key early on for the Broncs, as they forced six turnovers during the first 10 minutes of action.

Neither team would score through first two minutes of the second before Lewis hit a pull-up jumper to give the Gaels back the lead at 11-10. On the ensuing possession, Rider would answer as senior forward Yeliz Dogan (Izmir, Turkey/Antalya Koleji) knocked down a long two from the top of the key to give the guests back the lead. Following a Johnson steal and score and another basket in the post from Duggan, Rider would stretch its lead to five at 16-11.

Following the Lewis jumper with 7:50 left in the half, Rider reeled off 12 unanswered points capped by a pair of free throws by Duggan to lead by double digits at 22-11. After a Lizarazu lay-up cut the Iona deficit to nine, Johnson hit a runner to bring the lead back to double digits. The swarming Rider defense only committed two fouls in the opening half and both came with less than a minute remaining.

On the final possession of the second quarter Rider senior Taylor Wentzel (Pittsburgh, PA/Baldwin)  saw her half-court heave clank off the rim as the Broncs took a 24-13 lead into halftime. In the second quarter, Rider allowed just four points and held the Gaels to 2-of-10 shooting. The Broncs also eight turnovers in the stanza.  The four points allowed in a quarter are the second fewest this season by Rider as the Broncs surrendered just three points in the first stanza at Manhattan on January 5.

The Broncs stretched their lead to 14 midway through the third as a long two-pointer from sophomore guard Lexi Posset (Pittsburgh, PA/Beaver Area) gave Rider a 30-16 advantage. After Iona scored on its first possession of the half, the Broncs held the hosts scoreless for the next 4:51 before a pair of free throws from Gael senior forward Karynda Dupree.

Iona did a better job getting to the line in the third, attempting nine free throws after not taking a single one during the opening half. Dupree scored on an old-fashioned three-point play for Iona and Rider would get a free throw from Kamila Hoskova (Brno, Czech Republic/Sportovni Gymnazium Ludvika Danka) to close out the third. The Broncs took a 27-35 edge into the fourth.

Once again the Rider defense came to play in third, holding Iona to just 2-of-10 shooting and forcing six turnovers. Most of the damage in the quarter for the Gaels came at the charity stripe. The Broncs held the Gaels without a field goal over the final 5:20 of the third.

The teams would trade baskets early in the fourth and a trey from the wing Lewis and a pair of free throws from Lizarazu brought Iona back to within single digits at 43-34 with 4:36 remaining.

The Gaels would make it a 7-0 run as Tori Lesko hit a turnaround jumper from the foul line with 3:30 left in the game. Rider would answer back as Posset hit a pair of free throws to give Rider a nine-point edge at 45-36. Following a stop, the Broncs would again regain a double-digit lead courtesy of a mid-range jumper from Posset.

After Iona cut the deficit to seven at 43-36, Rider would score nine unanswered to hold a 16-point lead with 1:44 left in the game. During the spurt, the Broncs held the Gaels without a basket over the final 3:50 of play. Rider answered the Gael run with stout defense, forcing a trio of turnovers.

For the game, Rider shot just under 34 percent and held Iona to 26 percent shooting. The Broncs forced 23 turnovers and had 14 assists on 21 made field goals.

The Broncs return to action on Sunday, February 12, with a home conference showdown against Canisius that is slated to begin at 1:00 pm. Rider is looking for the season sweep against the Griffs after scoring a 71-70 win earlier in the season on the road. The game is also part of Rider’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration.
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The Campaign