By Pete Fagan
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – Women’s basketball fell 70-64 to the Broncs in a hard fought battle for second place in the MAAC standings. Marist led by as many as six in the final five minutes, but Rider buckled down defensively and hit some clutch shots to prevent the Red Fox victory.
The Red Foxes and Broncs went back and forth to start the game and were tied at 13 halfway through the first quarter.
Marist led 24-17 at the end of the first, having gone 10-of-13 on field goals. Rider was held to 7-of-16.
The Broncs went on a 12-4 run to open the second quarter, and led 29-28 at the media timeout. The Red Foxes had five turnovers in the first six minutes alone.
Alana Gilmer got Marist back in the game after Rider built up a six points lead, and the Red Foxes trailed only 34-32 entering halftime.
Marist turned the ball over 10 times in the first half, with multiple times coming from inbounding the ball. At the same time, the Red Foxes had a 15-11 rebounding advantage.
Marist started off the third quarter strong, but the Broncs went on a 6-0 run to lead 42-37 at the midway point of the third.
Gilmer came alive once again out of the timeout and scored five points in quick succession to spark the Marist offense and cut the Rider lead to 48-47 at the end of the third.
Rider came out aggressive from the break to lead by five, but a layup by Henningsdottir led to back-to-back threes by Hand and Best and Marist had a 55-52 lead with six minutes in play.
Barcello came back on the next offensive possession and hit a triple of her own to give Marist a 58-52 lead, their largest of the day.
Rider found some offense and took the lead back with a 12-3 run, but Henningsdottir knocked it down from deep to tie the game at 64 with 46 seconds left.
Stella Johnson hit a deep three to take back the advantage once again, and this would be the dagger as the Red Foxes turned over the ball on a critical play in the closing seconds to eliminate the chances of a final comeback.
“It was a tough loss because you have a six point lead late, and you give up an open three which can’t happen” remarked Coach Brian Giorgis. “Those were not smart things, and Stella Johnson made a great defensive play for them and we missed some free throws. It’s tough to lose one like that, but it was great match between two great teams.”