JERSEY CITY — Behind 19 points and 12 rebounds from senior Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Inst. of Notre Dame), the Rider University women’s basketball team won for the 14th time this season, including the ninth time on the road, scoring a 73-58 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory over Saint Peter’s University on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 24) in Jersey City.
The ‘double-double’ was the 24th in Bopp’s career and sixth of the season and she added three blocks in the game.
Trailing 12-11, 6:13 into the contest, Rider (14-13, 9-7 MAAC) went on an 11-1 run, six points by freshman Mikal Johnson (Manassas, Va./Osbourn) as the Broncs took a 22-13 lead with 11:00 left in the opening half. Johnson finished with 10 points, two rebounds and a steal in 18 minutes off the bench.
Leading 26-18, Rider went on a 7-0 run, five points by senior Sironda Chambers (Wilmington, Del.) as the Broncs increased their lead to 15 with 5:24 left in the opening half. Chambers had 16 points, two rebounds and a steal in 26 minutes.
Rider led 40-26 at intermission, behind 12 first half points from Chambers.
Trailing 46-27, Saint Peter’s (2-25, 2-14 MAAC) went on a 7-0 run, cutting the Bronc lead to 12 with 15:50 left in the game.
Bopp scored Rider’s next seven points as the Broncs increased the lead back to 16 (53-37) with 14:14 left in the contest.
Saint Peter’s cut the Bronc lead to 12 again with 12:45 remaining before Bopp scored six of Rider’s next nine points as Rider led 62-45 with 8:28 left in the second half.
Two free throws by graduate student Carleigh Brown (Philadelphia, Pa./Nazareth Academy) completed a 9-0 run as Rider extended its lead to 22 (67-45) with 6:30 left in the game. C. Brown had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists in only 14 minutes of play. Brown is Rider’s 16th all-time rebounder and now has 500 rebounds in her career.
Saint Peter’s made a late 8-0 run, cutting Rider’s lead to 14 (67-53) with 4:21 left and the Peacocks got to within 13 with 2:03 remaining but could get no closer.
Also for the Broncs, junior MyNeshia McKenzie (Springfield, Pa./Springfield (Delco)) had eight points, eight rebounds and tied a career-high with both six steals and five assists.
Saint Peter’s out-rebounded Rider 40-37. The Broncs had 10 steals and caused 20 Peacock turnovers. Rider scored 19 points off of turnovers.
Rider out-shot Saint Peter’s 44 percent (24-54) to 38 percent (20-53).
The opening period output is the second highest of the season for Rider. The Broncs scored 41 points against Saint Peter’s on Jan. 24 in a 74-51 win at Alumni Gymnasium.
This was Rider’s fourth MAAC season series sweep of the year with the Broncs also defeating Fairfield, Loyola Maryland and Manhattan twice.
This was the 53rd meeting between Rider and Saint Peter’s with the Broncs winning for the 11th time.
Rider last won at the Yanitelli Center on February 5, 2005 when the Broncs won 75-69.
With Iona defeating Siena and Fairfield winning against Canisius, Rider has clinched a top six conference finish for the first time since the 1999-2000 season and the Broncs will avoid the opening round play-in games at the MassMutual Center. The conference tournament is March 7-11 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
In 16 seasons in the MAAC, Rider has won 10 conference games only once. Winning for the ninth time in the MAAC in 2012-13, Rider has two home games remaining in the regular season, against Siena on March 1 at 7pm and the Broncs will host Iona for senior day on March 3 at 2 p.m.