Rider, MAAC Tournament
(Photo via Rider Athletics)

Rider Advances, Saint Peter's Falls in MAAC Championship

On Tuesday, March 7, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) kicked off its women's tournament in Atlantic City to find out who will be crowned champion and grab the automatic bid to March Madness. No. 10 Rider University and No. 11 Saint Peter's University took the court in the first round.

Rider beat No. 7 Marist College 63-50, and Saint Peter's lost to No. 6 Manhattan College 59-56.

Rider's Dominant Upset

The Broncs came into the matchup as the underdog, ranked three spots below from Marist. Despite that, they prevailed with a 13-point win over the Red Foxes.

Amanda Mobley led the team with 20 points and eight rebounds. Makayla Firebaugh followed behind with 19 points.

Rider had a good start as they led 11-8 at the end of the first quarter. Firebaugh had the first three-pointer of the game to give Rider an immediate lead. About halfway through the quarter, the Broncos went on an 8-2 run. Firebaugh made a jumper to start the drive before Jessika Schiffer made a three-pointer, and Mobley and Sofie Bruintjes made the final three points as Rider led into the second quarter.

Firebaugh once again started the quarter with the first points as she made a jumper. Catie Cunningham was able to get two back for Marist as she made both of her free throws. Mobley made a three-pointer and followed up with a driving layup to give the Broncos an eight-point lead. The second quarter proved to be a low-scoring quarter, but Mobley gave Rider a much-needed lead with her potent offense. With under a minute left, she made a three-point shot and another driving layup to give the Broncos a 10-point lead heading into halftime.

In the second half of the game, Rider took off. They kept their potent offense flowing, and their defense stayed on it as they kept a decent lead throughout the half. Victoria Toomey added four points in the third quarter. Firebaugh had a strong quarter as well as she kept scoring and wasn't able to be stopped. With six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Marist was able to tie the game at 46, but that didn't stop Rider. The Broncos went on a 17-4 drive to end the quarter and secure the win. Mobley and Firebaugh scored a majority of the points, but Toomey and Schiffer contributed as well. Rider finished taking home the 63-50 win.

Saint Peter's Almost Pulls Off Upset

Saint Peter's had quite a tough season this year. The team went 0-29 and ended with a final record of 0-30 after their loss to Manhattan in the first round on Tuesday. The team had a gritty performance as they only lost by three points, making it the closest game of the season for the Peacocks.

Jada Leonard scored 17 points and had five assists in the losing effort.

At the conclusion of the first quarter, Manhattan had the lead. Leonard made the first points for the Peacocks with a jumper, and Amaris Mills scored a three-pointer for their first five points of the game. The teams went back and forth, but ultimately the Jaspers had the 19-12 lead.

Saint Peter's had a good second quarter as they got their first lead of the game, 31-28. Kaila Dawkins made back-to-back driving layups at the beginning of the quarter to decrease the deficit they faced to three. Manhattan scored two buckets before Leonard made a jumper. The teams went back and forth, but with seven points at the end of the quarter, the Peacocks secured the lead.

Coming into the second half, the Peacocks kept their offense rolling. Manhattan tried to regain the lead, but they couldn't do enough to stop Saint Peter's from scoring. Jada Williams contributed a layup and one at the beginning of the quarter to give Saint Peter's some fire on offense. Leonard also had quite a few points during the quarter to allow the Peacocks to go into the final quarter ahead. Despite their lead, the Jaspers were able to take the lead with about a minute left in the game. A 6-0 run gave them the lead as Saint Peter's tried to gain control once again. Unfortunately, the Peacocks were not able to score as the Jaspers made two final free throws to secure the win. Saint Peter's fell 59-56 .

What's Next?

Rider returns to the court on Wednesday, March 8 to face Niagara University in the quarterfinals of the MAAC Tournament.