Women’s Basketball Defeats Rider, Falls to Siena

W Basketball 02.07.18After dropping two-straight games on the road, the Monmouth University women’s basketball team defeated the Rider Broncs 63-56 Saturday afternoon at the OceanFirst Bank Center.

Sophomore forward Taylor Nason recorded a double-double in the contest, as she recorded 12 points and 12 rebounds. Junior center Erica Balman also contributed 12 points, while grabbing nine boards. The Hawks had two other players score in double figures, as sophomore guard Kayla Shaw had 11, and senior guard Rhaiah Spooner-Knight had ten.

“I know this team has it in them,” Monmouth Head Coach Jody Craig said, “and that’s what has been the most frustrating part [about our losses]. We’ve had glimpses of it, but had not yet seen 40 minutes of the kind of basketball we know it takes to win. It might not be pretty, but we were going to fight for 40 minutes and give it everything we have on both ends of the floor. Overall, I think we have a lot to be proud of.”

Rider scored the first points of the game, but the Hawks scored the next ten points to take an eight-point lead with 5:16 remaining in the first quarter. They outscored the Broncs 14-6 the rest of the quarter, as a Shaw jumper gave them a 24-8 advantage after ten minutes. In that first quarter, Spooner-Knight, Balman, and Nason totaled 19 points and nine rebounds.

Rider was able to cut the deficit down to ten late in the second, but a three-point shot from freshman forward Carol Arfinengo gave the Hawks a 34-21 lead going into halftime.

The Broncs started the third hot, scoring the first seven points to cut the deficit to six with 8:04 remaining, forcing Craig to call a timeout. Rider would outscore Monmouth in the quarter, but the Hawks still maintained a nine-point advantage after 30 minutes, 44-35.

Rider continued their gradual push in the fourth, as they were able to bring it within four points, 55-51, with 1:41 left in the game. Monmouth, however, received a layup from Shaw and made six free throws to seal the game.

For the game, the Hawks shot 35 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range. Monmouth outrebounded Rider 50-35, with that total being one away from their season-high. The Hawks also outscored the Broncs’ bench 18-7. The team also had 19 assists on 22 made baskets.

 “It was all from my teammates, especially the point guards who were running the floor, getting the ball to me and other players,” Nason said, “also, having that continuous hustle throughout the whole team, I knew they had my back and I had theirs.”

Next Monmouth traveled to Loudonville, NY on Monday night, where they fell to Siena by a score of 44-41 in the final seconds. The Hawks had a two-point lead with 3:44 remaining in the game, but the Saints scored the final five points to steal the victory at home.

The loss dropped the Hawks to 6-16 on the season, as they fell to 4-7 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Monmouth hopes to bounce back on Thursday night, as they host the Marist Red Foxes in a rematch of the MAAC opener on Dec. 30. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m., and the game can be found on ESPN3 and WMCX 88.9 FM.

PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell