SWARTHMORE, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's basketball team went into Swarthmore, jumped out to an early lead and moved above the .500-mark with a 53-41 victory over the Garnet on Wednesday night.
Coach Margaret White got plenty of players involved, as eight different Bears (5-4, 3-2) scored in the victory, but sophomore Toni Suler stood out in the contest. Suler recorded a double-double, her second in a row and the sixth in her career, scoring a 12 points while grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds for the second contest in a row. She would round out her day with four blocks and three steals as well, and she shot 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
The Bears carried a 10-point lead into halftime, thanks to a strong effort from everyone on the court. Sophomore Lydia Konstanzer scored 10 points and recorded three steals in the first 20 minutes, while freshman Aliyah Stephens accounted for six off the bench.
Stephens found herself on the court early in the contest, recording a bucket in the first frame, but her performance in the second quarter was paramount to building a lead the Bears would never give up. Stephens hit a left-handed layup to pull the Bears to a 17-12 clip early in the quarter. She'd later take a steal end-to-end for a lay-in to make it a 21-12 lead that would cap an 8-0 run for the Bears to open the second quarter.
Konstanzer starred in the run as well, recording a layup and an assist on freshman Marisa Morano's bucket that kicked off the scoring parade. Konstanzer capped a Bears' run that extended the lead to 10 points toward the end of the first half. Senior Rachel Guy hit a 3-pointer following a layup and Suler added a basket of her own, bringing the score to 30-10.
Konstanzer wrapped up the night one rebound short of her own double-double, putting up a game-high 15 points and nine rebounds. She added a pair of assists and three steals to her day just for good measure.
The Garnet (1-7, 0-5) went on an 11-0 run in the third quarter to pull the score to 34-32 before Suler completed a 3-point play. Suler caught a pass inside the paint and sank a fade-away jumper though a foul, hitting the ensuing free throw.
The Bears threw things into cruise control early, as they took the lead for good with five seconds left in the first quarter, when Stephens hit a layup. From there, it was all Bears.
Swarthmore pulled closer as the final minutes ticked off the clock, bringing the score to 44-40, but Konstanzer sank a layup to extend the lead before the Garnet began to foul Ursinus players. The group of Konstanzer, Suler, Guy and freshman Maya Kornfeld shot 7-for-8 from the line in the final minutes, sealing the Bears' victory.
With four more rejections, Suler passed Molly Guntli '08 for second in school history with 127 for her career. She needs just 12 more to pass Laura Coulter '97 for the all-time record.
Suler's shot-swatting helped Ursinus hold Swarthmore to just 24.6 percent from the field (15 for 61), and the Bears scored 23 points off 22 Garnet turnovers.
The Bears are back in action Saturday, when they'll face their toughest test of the season so far, as they will host #19 Muhlenberg. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.