The Niagara women’s basketball team couldn’t hold on to its late lead and fell 79-75 to Rider in their Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference opener on Thursday.
Niagara entered the fourth quarter up four points but it wouldn’t be enough as the two teams battled back and forth.
Rider had all the momentum. It had nearly erased all of the Purple Eagles’ 39-30 halftime lead in the third quarter. But, Niagara had pushed the lead to eight after Maggie McIntyre’s 3-pointer with 7:37 left.
Niagara would go cold over the next four minutes. Rider patiently took over, taking a 65-63 lead with 3:02 remaining after Amanda Mobley’s second 3-pointer of the fourth quarter.
Niagara, led by Jai Moore, went up by one on Moore’s jumper at 2:45 and a layup by Moore with 2:11 remaining again put the Purple Eagles ahead by one.
Moore duked it out with the Broncs’ Stella Johnson, who seemed to have an answer for everything Moore did.
When Moore hit her jumper, Johnson made two free throws. When Moore made her layup, Johnson responded with her own jump shot.
The two of them each had 24 points with 1:33 left and the Broncs led by one point.
Moore went to the free throw line again, making one of two, to tie the game. Johnson cashed in on her next opportunity, making another jumpshot to put Rider ahead.
Moore missed a layup, Johnson made another shot and Rider led 74-70 with 20 seconds on the clock.
Moore made one last layup, taking only four seconds to do so, but Johnson would be immediately fouled by Jordan Edwards.
Johnson nailed both, giving her 30 points, and Rider the win.
McIntyre hit a 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining to make it 76-75, but it wasn’t enough.
Moore ended the game with 27 points on 10-for-24 shooting and a 1-for-7 mark from 3-point territory. She led the team with three assists.
McIntyre added 18, the only other double-digit scoring effort from Niagara. She made six shots, all on 3-pointers.
Johnson finished with 31 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. She played 38 minutes.
Canisius couldn’t keep pace with Manhattan after a hot first quarter as they were defeated, 68-50.
The Griffs had their largest lead of the game with 7:15 to go in the second quarter. Canisius led 24-14 before the Jaspers started to heat up.
The Griffs did a solid job of locking up their opponent until then. Manhattan only had nine points in the first quarter.
Emily LaPointe led the comeback, finishing with a game-high 25 points and making 9 of 19 shots.
Manhattan pulled away in the middle quarters, outscoring Canisius 48-29 during the second and third quarters.
The Jaspers’ scoring slowed down in the final quarter, reaching just 11, but Canisius couldn’t take advantage. The Griffs had only six points in the fourth, the lowest in any quarter.
D’Jhai Patterson-Ricks couldn’t find a rhythm in the half-court, converting 2 of 9 shot attempts. She did make all seven of her free throws for 11 points.
Tianna Pugh had 11 as well, making five shots and 1 of 4 free throws.
Canisius is now 1-9 and 0-1 in the MAAC.