Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Guru's Roundup: Rider Bridging Generations With Its Hot Start

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – A fast start in individual games has gotten the Rider University women’s  basketball team off to one of its best opening weeks ever.

How fast?

Would you believe the last time the Broncs achieved some of their similar success, nearly half the undergraduate class was still a ways off from being born.

Things like winning at Princeton in the season opener. Starting 3-0. Beating La Salle. Starting Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play 2-0 on the Western New York road trip.

And a gritty 75-68 non-conference  victory Thursday night over host Lehigh (5-5) made it two three-game win streaks though one could turn into four if the current Broncs (6-2) squad wins a non-conference game Sunday at Towson outside Baltimore.

"We started the game again really well, defensively,” said Rider coach Lynn (Donovan) Milligan, the Broncs alum in her 10th season sfter a past stint at Saint Joseph’s as an assistant to to Cindy Griffin and also a former Drexel assistant. “Got some quick turnovers. Were able to jump out a little bit. A little lull there in the middle of the seond and third quarters but I felt that our starts to every quarter were very solid.

“And our depth was very key today because we got into some big time foul trouble.”

In this one Rider dominated the paint 50-22, 22-15 on points off turnovers, and 13-2 in second chance points.

Rider led for all but 1 minute and 50 seconds. The Broncs’ largest lead was 12 at 7:19 of the third quarter in a game that primarily every Mountain Hawks rally had a counter thrust to keep the visitors in front with a small cushion.

“It’s definitely a different mentality with this group. I think our seniors are doing a good job leading this group,” Milligan said. “We’re not – we don’t get in panic mood. I think we’re confident within what we’re doing and confident with each other and I think that shows if somebody makes a mistake, or we get a missed shot, someody else is going to get a steal and back them up and that’s really been helping us.”

Rider senior Robin Perkins had 19 points and five of the Broncs’ nine steals helping to provide help when co-starters Juli Duggan and Stella Johnson got in foul trouble.

Kamila Hoskova had 14 points and Johnnah Johnson had 10 points

Lehigh’s Quinci Mann had 14 points, Cameryn Benz off the bench scored 12, and Hannah Headstrom scored 10 points.

“I felt like our pace picked up. I felt like at one point we let them dictate the game and then when started running the ball and getting stops, that changed the game,” said Rider’s Perkins.

“It’s easier and we were able to get the ball in the bucket. It’s hard to score against it and we’re switching up so much more.

Lehigh was coming home off a Monday visit to Villanova in which the Wildcats finished them off with a 19-3 run in the last quarter.

“Rider played well and we did a poor job stopping them, particularly in the paint,” Lehigh coach Sue Troyan said. “They had their way with us tonight. Every time we made a run, they had a response. That’s probably indicative of a senior-laden team, too. They did a good job of responding.

“When Duggan got in foul trouble, that’s probably to our advantage, but then Perkins played well. That was a really dynamic player and we had trouble stopping her as well.”

That was the only game on the local sked Thursday and no one plays Friday night.

On Saturday, Temple visits Villanova at 1 p.m. In a battle of 2-0 squads City Series wise that will battle for Big Five advantage.

Pittsburgh travels to Penn State making it the first time that Lady Lion all-time great Suzie McConnell-Serio will be coaching against her alma mater.

La Salle will try to avoid a letdown hosting Fairfield after its upset of Penn while the Quakers will try to get back on track traveling to Richmond.

Princeton visits Fordham trying to keep up its hot streak while Rutgers will be looking for its third win, visiting Houston.

On Sunday, Army visits Delaware and two national games of note is UConn after its Notre Dame win, visiting unbeaten Kansas State while Tennessee visits Texas.

And that’s a wrap


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