With opportunities to take the lead and tie late, the Siena Saints fell just short against the MAAC frontrunner Rider Broncs on Saturday evening. The Green and Gold would push the Broncs to the brink, falling by a final of 70-66 in Lawrenceville, as senior Sabrina Piper led the Saints with a 22-point performance.
Piper also added eight rebounds and three assists to her resume for the night for the Saints (3-13, 1-6). Junior Rayshel Brown put up a 17-point night on 7-for-14 shooting from the field, and also three assists. Sophomore Margo Peterson scored into double figures once again, scoring 11 points and tying a career-high with six rebounds.
For Rider (12-2, 5-0), Amanda Mobley led the way with team-highs of 17 points and seven assists, while Stella Johnson added 14 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Amari Johnson scored 10 points with 15 rebounds, and Lea Favre scored 12 points.
The Saints came out to an early 12-5 lead in the first quarter after Peterson knocked down a three with 4:27 to play in the frame. Rider would turn up the offense over the next few minutes, but a three from junior DeAnna Winston tied things up at 17-17 with the clock in the first expiring. Siena continued the push in the second quarter, shooting 50 percent from the field. They would go into the locker room up by one thanks to an Anthony floater in the lane at the buzzer, giving the Saints a 36-35 lead.
Offense in the second half would cool off a touch, as the Saints held strong on defense. Piper and Brown would each step up on offense in the third and fourth quarters as they kept the Saints within striking distance. Despite eight points from Brown alone in the third quarter, the Broncs would see their largest lead of the game at seven points just seconds into the fourth quarter.
Brown would immediately respond with a bucket right after Rider went up by seven, followed by a Piper three pointer to cut the Rider lead back to two points. Mobley and Piper traded long shots in the next two possessions to keep things moving with eight minutes to play. With Rider up 57-55, both sides traded jabs until Rider grabbed a five-point lead with 2:54 to play. Piper responded once again with a three pointer, as her play led into a Margo Peterson and-one in the ensuing possession after a Rider bucket on the other end.
With 1:22 to play, the Saints were within a point and then forced a Rider turnover as Anthony was able to snag a steal. With a chance to take the lead, the Saints missed the shot, and had to foul. Rider would make both free throws to take a three-point lead, 69-66 with 26 seconds to play. Needing to tie the Saints had an opportunity to do so with under 20 seconds to play, but the shot would rim out and lead to another Rider rebound. Another made free throw would put the game out of reach for the Saints.
The Green and Gold return to the floor on Thursday, Jan. 23 as they return to the Alumni Recreation Center to begin a three-game home stand. The Saints start with the Monmouth Hawks on Thursday, with tip-off coming at 7 p.m.