Broncs advance to second round in thrilling win over Iona

By Logan K. VanDine

Heading into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Tournament as the eighth seed, Rider women’s basketball was on a four-game losing streak with its offense not generating enough points. But in the first round of the MAAC Tournament, the Broncs offense was on full display thanks to a strong fourth-quarter showing, as they were able to knock off nine-seeded Iona 66-56 on March 12 to advance to the second round.

 “Excited about the outcome of the game but more excited about how we won the game,” said Head Coach Lynn Milligan. “It was a complete team effort on both sides of the ball for pretty much close to 40 minutes and that is just something we have been talking about and working on…. We were able to bounce back after the last game which says a lot about the young ladies we have on this team.”

The game started out with Rider on top in the first quarter as it took a 21-16 after, but the Gaels answered as they outscored the Broncs 15-8 to give them a 31-29 first half lead.

The second half was when things turned up for the Broncs, as after outscoring Iona just by a two-point margin, Rider pulled away in the fourth quarter and picked up the win at 25-15, advancing to the next round.

Milligan also spoke about how her team rebounded after heading into the tournament having lost its last four, especially with the most recent loss against Fairfield by 29 on March 9.

“When that horn went off at Fairfield last Saturday that was it, the regular season is over and we had our eyes on Atlantic City,” said Milligan. “

The leading scorers for the Broncs were guards: junior Sanaa Redmond, who had 13 points, graduate student Taylor Langan, who also had 13 points, and senior Molly Lynch and junior Mariona Cos-Morales who each scored 10 points. 

Langan talked about what the team talked about at the end of the third quarter when the game was knotted at 41.

“We said how it’s a 0-0 game and the season comes down to 10 minutes,” Langan said. “We knew exactly what they were going to do and they knew exactly what they were going to do and I think it’s just coming out and having a better mentality to finish out the game.”

Redmond also touched on what was said during their team’s huddle after the third quarter.

“We had a team mentality and we didn’t care how it happened and who scored first, we just had to lock in for the last 10 minutes,” said Redmond.

Rider will face the nationally ranked Fairfield Stags in the quarterfinals after losing to them by almost 30 points about a week ago. “We are very well aware that nobody is going to give us a chance to win tomorrow but that does not really matter,” she said. “We know what our game plan is going to be, we know what we are up against and we’re going to play Rider Lady Bronc basketball.”

Rider’s matchup against Fairfield is slated for March 13 at 1 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.       

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