Dec. 7, 2012
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – Despite all five starters scoring in double figures, Army women’s basketball had its seven-game winning streak snapped at Rider on Friday evening with a 66-60 setback to the Broncs. Junior Jen Hazlett had a team-best 15 points for Army but the Black Knights’ comeback bid proved to be unsuccessful against a Rider squad which controlled the paint the entire game.
Army falls to 8-2 after its first road loss of the season while Rider improves to 4-4.
The Black Knights came out with the hot hand, making seven of their first 11 shots to grab an early lead. Army went up by its largest lead of the game, 18-8, off a Hazlett layup with 11:41 remaining, forcing Rider to spend its first timeout of the game.
The Broncs came out of the timeout firing, blazing to a 20-0 run which spanned over six minutes. Army shot 0-for-10 during that stretch, which ended by Hazlett sinking a pair of free-throws before adding a three-pointer. Freshman point guard Kelsey Minato added a triple of her own, as Army managed to close the gap to 34-26 at the half. Rider’s 34 points are the most Army has allowed in the first half this season.
Rider maintained a 10-point lead for nearly three minutes as both teams were held scoreless between 17:03 and 14:15, until Minato drained one of her three three-pointers. Minato finished with 14 points, five rebounds and two assists. The two squads traded baskets for the next nine minutes until Army made one final push sparked by senior Anna Simmers.
Down 13 with 4:47 remaining, Simmers and Hazlett hit back-to-back threes, followed by three consecutive turnovers by Rider and the fourth foul to the Broncs’ go-to player, Caitlin Bopp. Army got within one after Hazlett dumped the ball down low to freshman Brianna Johnson, 58-57 with 2:11 remaining.
Bopp, who finished with a game-high 20 points, checked back in and scored for Rider, followed by Simmers making 1-of-2 free throws to keep it a one-possession game. With 47 seconds left, Minato fouled Mikal Johnson on her three-point attempt, with Johnson making all three freebies, virtually sealing the game for Rider.
Minato came back and made a pair of free throws and with Army trailing by three, 63-60, with 17 seconds left and the Broncs’ shot clock nearing an end, Simmers committed an untimely foul, sending Sironda Chambers to the charity stripe. Chambers would make both followed by another free throw by Bopp, as Rider closed out the 66-60 victory.
Army, which usually controls the paint, was outdone by Bopp and company. Rider outrebounded Army, 40-37, while 34 of the Broncs’ points came in the lane versus the Black Knights’ 14. Army also shot just 15 free throws on the night as its two losses this season have both come in games where the Black Knights have shot 15 or less freebies, while also attempting less than their opponent.
Sophomore Olivia Schretzman had 10 points for Army as did Brianna Johnson, while Simmers finished with 11. Johnson also added a game-high seven rebounds in her first career start. Friday’s game marks the first time since Feb. 18, 2006 that Army boasted five players in double digits.
Army will play its third consecutive Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game on Monday when the Black Knights return home to West Point to host future Patriot League member Loyola. The Greyhounds play at Syracuse tomorrow at 1 p.m. Tipoff against Loyola on Monday at Christl Arena is slated for 7 p.m.