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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Rider women searching for perfect balance

Sophomore forward Julia Duggan. (Gregg Slaboda Photo)

By Kyle Franko
@kj_franko on Twitter

Lawrenceville >> Lynn Milligan keeps getting asked the same question.

It’s the elephant in the room when discussing the Rider women’s basketball team.

Who’s going to score?

No, it won’t be the ghost of MyNeshia McKenzie, who graduated as the program’s third all-time leading scorer and top rebounder.

“If you look at the teams that are above us and are fighting for a championship each year, they are balanced and have four or five people you have to guard,” said Milligan, who enters her eighth season in charge of her alma mater. She’s guided the Broncs to 30 wins over the last two years.

Balance is exactly what Milligan is looking for.

“I want them to have to defend our entire team,” she said.

Rider’s biggest addition is former Trenton Catholic Academy standout Robin Perkins, who sat out last season after transferring in from St. Francis (Pa.). Perkins will likely step into a starting lineup which also lost second-leading scorer Mikal Johnson, who departed for Liberty located in her native Virginia.

Milligan said Perkins in the best athlete on the team.

“Robin brings a really unique skillset, probably something we haven’t had in a while,” Milligan said. “Her first step is lightning quick and she has the ability to really go by people, but if you back off of her, she has the ability to stick the 3 as well.”

Also keep an eye on sophomore center Julia Duggan.

The Marmora native was last seen scoring 18 points and hauling in 17 rebounds during a loss to Marist in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference semifinals.

That appearance in the semis was the first for Rider since joining the MAAC. Milligan calls this team a young-veteran group.

Players like Duggan and fellow sophomore Stephanie Mason weren’t part of the squads that stumbled through conference play. They’ve experienced enough success to see a way toward the top of the league standings.

“Our younger kids have won so they don’t get caught up in all the stuff everyone wants to say about Rider (in the past),” Milligan said. “That’s a great thing. We’ve been trying to build this program and establish a tradition of winning and that’s what they’ve been part of. They haven’t been part of the turnaround, they’ve been part of two solid seasons. Fifteen wins and 15 wins is a hell of a lot nicer to look at than five.”

The Broncs are taking part in the WNIT to open their season and begin play at Seton Hall Friday at noon.

Rider was picked to finish sixth in the 11-team MAAC, which was won by Marist for the ninth consecutive time. The Red Foxes shared the top spot with Quinnipiac, while Iona — led by two-time Player of the Year Damika Martinez — was third.

“We’re a group that’s balanced,” Milligan said. “There are a million words I can use to describe this team, but I like where our heads are and I like the team part of this group. I think we have great leadership and the kids that are returning understand what opportunities they have. They’re ready for the challenge.”


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