Rider falls 71-49 to Hawks in season opener

By Logan VanDine

Coming off a 10-win season, Rider women’s basketball was looking to make a statement as they headed to Philadelphia to take on Saint Joseph’s.

That statement win will have to wait, however, as the Broncs dropped their regular season opener to the Hawks 71-49 on Nov. 7.

Head Coach Lynn Milligan, who’s entering her 17th season at the helm, had her starting five feature senior guard Makayla Firebaugh, freshman center Kaylan Deveney, graduate student guard Jessika Schiffer and junior guards Mariona Cos-Morales and Sanaa Redmond. 

At the start of the game, the Broncs showed a lot of fight against a team that went 20-11 last season, only being down by five at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter saw the Broncs outmatched against Saint Joseph’s, as the Hawks dominated the quarter to take a 31-18 halftime lead.

The Hawks continued their assault on the new-look Broncs in the second half, outscoring them 40-31 en route to a dominant win over Rider, 71-49.

“It’s learning from the mistakes that we made tonight and pulling our teaching points on and making sure that we hit the gym tomorrow and we continue to work and get better and grow,” Milligan said. “Offensively I thought we did some good things. We just didn’t make enough shots and defensively the fundamentals of our foundations really let us down at times.” 

Despite the lopsided loss, the Broncs saw some of their own have strong performances on the court, with Redmond having 11 points on the night and Schiffer leading the team in scoring with 15 on five 3-pointers.

“They both scored in different ways, I think Jess in the second half really found her shot. I thought her teammates did a good job getting her the ball and flow and get her feet set and shoot that three,” said Milligan. “And [Sanaa Redmond] floor game for her first game being the point guard was terrific, I thought her hesitation moves and her reads off the screens were very, very good.”

Schiffer gave her input on her team’s performance and despite leading the team in scoring, she still wanted her team to get a different result on the night.

“Going into it we knew that we were the underdogs so we kind of just wanted to go and then show everyone what we can do on the floor. We’ve seen where we have to grow, we just have to translate the good stuff that we do in practice,” Schiffer said. “It was nice that I got to score, but we still have to grow as a team, get wins and it doesn’t matter who scores.”

Other notable scorers for the Broncs were Firebaugh and Cos-Morales each adding six points. 

Deveney continued to show how much of a force she can be on the court, scoring seven points in her first regular season collegiate game.

In the Broncs exhibition game against TCNJ on Nov. 1, Deveney led the Broncs in scoring with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field.

The Broncs will have a few days off before their home opener, taking on Merrimack in Alumni Gym at 5 p.m. on Nov. 12.

“The first thing we’ve got to do is shore up our defense, and with that comes fundamentals in the half court, transition defense in the full court and finishing plays,” Milligan said.

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