COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's basketball team got out to a quick start and maintained its early lead to beat Dickinson 58-45 in Centennial Conference competition on Thursday.
The Bears (8-6, 5-4) found a rhythm early that led to hot shooting and a lead that grew to as much as 12. They struck first on a layup from freshman Maya Kornfeld that was followed up by a 3-pointer from junior Kaci McNeave, whose stroke from beyond the arc was on point through the entire ballgame. The Red Devils (3-10, 3-5) were just as strong in the first few minutes, grabbing a 7-5 lead before freshman Marisa Morano blocked a shot on the defensive end and finished a layup on the other end to give Ursinus an 8-7 edge.
Senior Rachel Guy drilled a 3-pointer with 3:45 to go in the first quarter that came off an offensive rebound from sophomore Toni Suler, who recorded a pair of blocks in the first half. Freshman Aliyah Stephens pushed the advantage to seven by hitting on a 3-pointer with 51 seconds left in the first frame, giving the Bears a 21-14 spread at the break. The Bears were 3-for-3 from deep and shot 57.1 percent from the field in the first 10 minutes.
The Bears pride themselves on being a strong defensive team, but Dickinson came out shooting well, starting 4-of-9 from the floor before the Bears' defense locked down. The Red Devils missed their last five shots of the first quarter and only shot 25 percent in the second quarter.
Stephens opened the second quarter with points, sinking a layup a little over a minute into the period before McNeave struck again from deep almost three minutes later to give the Bears a 26-16 lead. Senior Liana Weishaar assisted on the bucket, finding McNeave all alone for the shot. Sophomore Lydia Konstanzer made a pair of free throws and a layup later in the quarter, quietly compiling seven points and seven rebounds in the first 20 minutes of action. McNeave hit her third 3-pointer with five seconds to go in the half thanks to a nice find by Guy, putting the Bears up 33-21 at the half.
Suler scored the first two baskets of the second half, dropping in a pair of layups within the first minute of the quarter – the second on an assist from McNeave, pushing the lead to 39-21, the largest of the game. Later in the quarter, Morano recorded a steal – one of her three in the game – and took it from end to end for a lay-in. She'd find a cutting Stephens for a layup late in the quarter to make it a 44-32 game.
Stephens came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring seven of her 15 points in the frame, finishing the game 5-of-7 from the field and 2-of-3 on 3-pointers. The freshman recorded one of the better passes of the game through traffic to set up Konstanzer for an uncontested layup. Guy would add on a 3-pointer three minutes later to kick-start a 7-1 run for the Bears that featured a pair of free throws and a layup from Stephens.
The Bears' defense stayed consistent, keeping the Red Devils to just 27.5 percent shooting from the floor with just two players scoring more than six points. Ursinus, however, had three players shoot 50 percent or better. Stephens led the way while McNeave and Morano each wrapped up 3-of-6 shooting. Suler came up just short of the mark, hitting on 3-of-7 attempts.
McNeave and Konstanzer each scored nine points, as Konstanzer pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds, five of which came on the offensive end. She'd add three steals and a pair of assists as well. Guy finished with eight points while Suler scored seven.
The Bears travel to Philadelphia on Sunday to face Gettysburg at the historic Palestra.