BLACKSBURG, VA – Senior center Julia Duggan (Marmora, NJ/Ocean City) became the 21st player in Rider women’s basketball program history to score 1,000 career points as the Broncs fell on the road to Virginia Tech, 76-62, in the first round of the 2017 WNIT. Rider (24-9) sees its record-setting season come to an end, while the Hokies (18-13) have now won two of their last three games.
“Tonight we started out a little slow and they came out strong,” Rider University Head Coach Lynn Milligan said. “We fought like we always do. I don’t think it was nerves, I think the speed and the pace of the game caught us off guard a little bit.”
Offensively, junior Kamila Hoskova (Brno, Czech Republic/Sportovni Gymnazium Ludvika Danka) led the charge for the Broncs with 18 points thanks to a 6-of-7 showing from the charity stripe. The balanced offensive attack saw three other Rider players score in double figures. Duggan had 12 points and four rebounds, while both freshman Stella Johnson (Denville, NJ/Morris Catholic) and sophomore Lexi Posset (Pittsburgh, PA/Beaver Area) poured in 13 points apiece. Johnson also added three steals for the guests, while Posset scored in double figured for the fourth straight game.
“Julia has been a warrior for four years,” Milligan added. “She works hard, she gives everything she has every day and she’s really developed into a terrific leader. She’s done everything that we’ve asked her to do and I’m really proud of her.”
It was a three-player attack for Virginia Tech as Regan Magarity, Chanette Hicks and Samantha Hill combined to score 65 of the team’s 76 points. Magarity was a force in the post, scoring a game-high 25 points on 10-fo-13 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds for a double-double. Hicks netted 21 points, while grabbing five boards and dishing out two assists and Hill had 19 points to go along with a game-high four steals.
The hosts started the game on a 4-0 run over the first 90 seconds of action before freshman Safie Tolusso (Vevey, Switzerland/Honore d'Estinne d'Orves) got the Broncs on the board with a lay-up on a nice cut. It was a two-player show early for the Hokies as Magarity and Hicks combined to score the team’s first 17 points.
After Rider cut the deficit to two at 6-4, Virginia Tech reeled off five straight points. Senior forward Yeliz Dogan (Izmir, Turkey/Western Nebraska CC/Antalya Koleji) put an end to the spurt with a put back of her own miss. Trailing by 11 at 17-6 with under a minute left in the first frame, Hoskova got the basket and drew contact. Her three-point play cut the Hokie advantage to single digits. To close out the first, Vanessa Panousis connected on a deep three for the Hokies to give the hosts a 22-11 edge after 10 minutes.
In the first quarter, the Broncs shot just 29 percent (5-17), while Virginia Tech knocked down over 56 percent (9-16) of its shots. Magarity and Hicks had 17 of the 22 Tech points in the first, while five different Broncs scored at least two points in the frame.
Rider started the second quarter on a 7-0 run capped by a triple from the wing by Posset to cut the deficit to four at 22-18 two minutes into the stanza. The Hokies would answer with a 12-0 run of their own to stretch the lead 16 at 34-18. Duggan put an end to the run with a free throw for Rider midway through the quarter. Her free throw would be the final points of the first half for Rider.
A three from the wing by Virginia Tech freshman Kendyl Brooks with 2:21 left in the half gave the Hokies a 41-19 lead. Down the stretch, Virginia Tech scored the last four points of the frame to lead, 45-19, at the break.
Over the first 20 minutes, Rider shot 25 percent (8-32) compared to the Hokies hitting 50 percent (18-36) of the their shots.
The teams traded points early in the third as a pair of free throws from Posset made it a 25-point game at 50-25 in favor of Virginia Tech. Heading into the media timeout in the third, Rider trailed, 55-30, following a steal and lay-up from Johnson. She was the most effective Bronc on the offensive end to that point in the contest, hitting 3-of-4 from the field.
Rider made it a 7-0 run in the third with a lay-up from Duggan with 3:41 remaining in the stanza. She would follow that up with a jumper and after a Hokie miss, Johnson scored in transition to make it an 11-0 Rider run.
Virginia Tech would answer on the following possession with a jumper in the paint from Hicks to stop the Bronc spurt. Rider would cut the deficit to 19 to close out the frame and trail 59-40 heading into the fourth. In the third, the Broncs outscored the Hokies, 21-14, and shot 64 percent (9-14) thanks to Duggan scoring six in the quarter. The Broncs also forced six Virginia Tech turnovers over the 10-minute span.
Rider was scoreless over the first two minutes of the fourth quarter before Duggan knocked down a pair of free throws. The free throws got the team on the board in the frame and gave her 1,000 career points. Back-to-back three-point plays from Johnson and Posset cut the Hokie lead to 15 at 63-48 with six minutes left in the contest.
The Broncs would cut the lead to 13 at 63-50 following a steal and score in transition from Johnson. On the ensuing possession, Virginia Tech would answer with a basket from Magarity and then an old-fashioned three-point play from Hill.
Over the final three minutes of regulation, Rider would use a 5-0 spurt to pull within 14 at 71-57 following a trey from Posset off a feed from Johnson. Duggan would hit her second career three-pointer with under a minute left. The triple was also her second in the last two games.
Late in regulation, the Hokies would knock down their free throws to advance to the second round of the 2017 WNIT.
Johnson would end the season with 93 steals, which is the most in a single-season in program history since the team started playing in Division I in 1982-83.
For the game, Rider shot 38 percent (23-60) from the field, while Hokies shot 44 percent (29-65). The Broncs forced 22 turnovers and outscored Virginia Tech, 43-31, in the second half.
The tilt marked the final game in the careers of Duggan, Taylor Wentzel (Pittsburgh, PA/Baldwin) and Dogan.
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