LAWRENCEVILLE — Despite a ‘double-double’ from junior MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco)), the Rider University women’s basketball team lost the 2012-13 home opener Monday evening (Nov. 12) in Alumni Gymnasium.
McKenzie had 18 points and 16 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass.
A preseason All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Second Team selection, the ‘double-double’ is the 13th of McKenzie’s career.
Rider trailed by 16 points with 12:30 left in the game but had a chance to tie or win the game at the buzzer with the final shot blocked as time expired.
Senior Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Inst. Of Notre Dame) made a three-point play with under a minute remaining to bring Rider to within four and two McKenzie free throws cut the NJIT lead to two with 39.6 seconds left for the final score.
Trailing 45-31 with 9:20 remaining, Rider (1-1) went on a 9-4 run, five points by senior Sironda Chambers (Newark, Del./Hodgsen Vo-Tech.) and four points by McKenzie as the Broncs cut the NJIT lead to nine (49-40) with 6:43 left in the game. Chambers finished with eight points.
Two free throws each by McKenzie and freshman Mikal Johnson (Manassas, Va./Osbourn) got Rider to within six (51-45) with 4:20 left. Johnson finished with 11 points, nine in the opening 20 minutes, making three from three-point range.
Trailing 14-11, NJIT (1-1) scored 16 of the next 20 points, to take a 27-18 lead with 2:27 left before the half as the Broncs went without a field goal for almost 10 minutes.
Johnson broke the Rider scoring drought with 30 seconds left in the first period with a three-pointer before a Bronc turnover led to NJIT scoring at the buzzer as the Highlanders took a 29-21 lead into the locker room.
Rider went 0-12 from the field during the NJIT run and the Broncs were 4-27 shooting (15 percent) in the opening 20 minutes.
The Broncs were held to 11-60 (18 percent) from the field in the game and Rider turned the ball over 18 times with NJIT credited with nine steals.
Rider and NJIT have split the two games in the all-time series with the Broncs winning in Newark 60-50 last season.
The Broncs host Mount St. Mary’s on Friday evening at 7 p.m.