By Logan VanDine and Kadie Digiuseppe
Entering the games against Niagara and Saint Peter’s, Rider women’s basketball had gone 3-6 over their last nine games and are in the middle of a three-game losing streak.
Rider saw its losing streak extend to four as the Broncs fell to Niagara and Saint Peter’s, dropping to 5-12 on the season.
‘I thought we battled’
After a tough week of two straight losses, the Broncs tried to kick things back into gear during their game on Jan. 25 at home against Niagara. All night, Rider struggled on defense letting the Purple Eagles outscore them 81-62 in the end of regulation.
At the start of each quarter, the Broncs came out with energy and drive to take charge of the game but ultimately couldn’t get things done.
After the first half, Rider caught onto Niagara’s and started finding open shots after being outscored 45-22 at the end of the first half.
In the third quarter, the Broncs got going on offense and scored 23 more points with help from lead scorer and senior guard Makayla Firebaugh, who had 16 points at the end of regulation and two 3-pointers.
“Obviously it feels good, I guess,” said Firebaugh on being the leading scorer in harder games. “But at the same time if the outcome is not a win, at the end of the day it doesn’t feel as good.”
Graduate student guard Jessika Schiffer also helped the Broncs get back on track offensively, shooting for 50% and scoring 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
Head Coach Lynn Milligan said, “I thought that we battled really well and I knew we weren’t going to quit or go away, it was just a question of getting a little beat up, getting a little down.”
After the Broncs 20-point loss to Niagara at home, they had to turn around quickly to take on Saint Peter’s on the road.
After a close game in the first half, the second half was where it fell apart for Rider as they fell to the Peacocks on Jan. 28, 68-58.
“I thought our bounce back from Thursday night would be better,” said Milligan.“Saint Peter’s played a very good game and I thought defensively we were half a second late and offensively we’re still turning the ball over too much.”
The game started close with Saint Peter’s up by just one at the end of the first quarter, 19-18 and just two by the end of the second, 15-13. This made the score 34-31 by the end of the first half with a thrilling and close finish looking almost certain.
The second half proved difficult for Rider as the Peacocks looked like the better team that day. The Broncs were outscored in the third quarter 22-7 which proved to be the difference as the Broncs dropped their fourth straight to fall to last place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
“Late in the third quarter was when we had too many defensive breakdowns,” Milligan said.
The leading scorers for the Broncs on the afternoon were guards, graduate student Taylor Lagan and senior Molly Lynch who both had 15 points and Firebaugh who had another strong game with 14 points.
The Broncs return home to the Alumni Gym on Feb. 1 where they host the top-seeded Fairfield Stags at 7 p.m.