Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rider Women's Victory First in Postseason Since 2005

The Rider women's basketball team hadn't won a MAAC tournament game since the opening round of the 2004-05 season and it took a 35-foot heave as the buzzer sounded to give the Broncs a victory that year.

Since then, eight straight one-and-dones.

Until Thursday when Rider finally advanced once again in the MAAC tournament, this time earning a 64-55 victory over Saint Peter's in their opening round contest.

All-league first-team performer MyNeshia McKenzie scored a game-high 25 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds for the winners, now 14-16 on the season. Teammate and fifth-year senior guard Shereen Lightbourne added 15 points for the Broncs.

Lightbourne scored 12 of her pints in the opening half that enabled Rider to stay close with the Peacocks holding a 31-30 lead at the intermission.

McKenzie had 19 of her points in the second half.

"MyNeshia was unguardable in the second half, and Shereen gave us that boost in the first half," said Rider coach Lynn Milligan. "You need your seniors to show up in a game like this, and they did.:

McKenzie, who averages 19.7 points and 11.1 rebounds on the season, came up clutch almost every time her team needed her in the final 20 minutes.

"Every time we needed somethig we called a play for her and, then, all of a sudden we had a little bit of a cushion," added Milligan. "You're going to ride your horse down the stretch, and we did."

Saint Peter's, which finishes with a 3-27 record, got a strong performance from senior guard Aziza May who had 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

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