COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's basketball team used a late run to move past Franklin & Marshall, 74-58, on Wednesday.
Freshman Aliyah Stephens had the best game of her young career for the Bears, posting a career-high 14 rebounds to go with 17 points and tallying her first career double-double. She added three blocks, tying a career-high, and two steals in a dominant all-around effort.
Ursinus (10-11, 7-9) also got 24 points and 11 rebounds from sophomore Lydia Konstanzer, who recorded her fifth consecutive double-double to help the Bears stay in the playoff hunt.
The game was tied at 46 heading into the final minute of the third quarter when freshman Maya Kornfeld hit a deep 3-pointer to make it a 49-46 game heading to the fourth stanza, setting off a big run that put the contest to bed.
The Bears put the game away with a strong defensive stand in the fourth quarter, cobbling together a 13-2 run over the course of almost seven minutes. Stephens grabbed her 10th board of the game on an offensive rebound that she put back for a basket, and Konstanzer dropped in a pair of layups to build the cushion as the Bears secured the victory.
The Bears offense came out looking very efficient, as Konstanzer opened the contest with an offensive rebound and put back to put the Bears ahead early. She'd score thanks to a nifty euro-step to keep the Bears ahead 4-2 two minutes later.
Senior Rachel Guy extended the lead with an offensive board of her own followed by a strong finish. Kornfeld was an assist factory early in the contest, finding classmate Marisa Morano on a cut that she'd finish with an up-and-under lay-in to make it an 11-6 game with 4:20 left in the quarter. Guy hit a 3-pointer with 3:45 to go in the frame to make it 14-6 in favor of Ursinus.
The Diplomats didn't go away, though, putting together a run to make it a 16-13 game at the end of the stanza. They'd open the second quarter with a 3-pointer to tie the game, but that didn't last long, as the Bears proceeded to put together an 8-0 run thanks to a layup from Stephens, who blocked her third shot of the game less than three minutes into the quarter. Junior Kaci McNeave drilled a long two-pointer to make it a 23-16 ballgame with 5:50 to go in the half. Stephens capped the run with a free throw.
Konstanzer and Stephens continued their assault in the first 20 minutes as Konstanzer would record her 10th point on a layup with 1:49 to go while Stephens closed out the half with a 3-pointer. The duo combined for 17 points and 14 rebounds through the first half, leading the Bears to a 31-26 lead at the break.
Even without sophomore Toni Suler, who is out with an injury, the Bears dominated in the paint. They outrebounded the Diplomats 28-18, including 12 boards on the offensive end and turned them into eight second-chance points.
The two sides traded blows in the third quarter, almost going bucket for bucket. Stephens opened the quarter with a steal on the defensive end, taking it coast to coast for a lay-up through a foul. She'd hit the ensuing free throw to complete the 3-point play, pushing the lead to 34-26.
The Diplomats fought back, pulling to within three before Kornfeld dropped a layup less than two minutes into the frame. Konstanzer struck twice with a spin-move for a layup followed by a turnaround jumper as the lead extended to 44-36 with 4:30 left in the third quarter.
F&M made its push late in the frame, but Kornfeld's deep 3 at the shot-clock buzzer gave the Bears the momentum they needed.
Ursinus finished with three players in double figures, as Guy scored 10 points to go along with six rebounds. Kornfeld tallied nine points, six assists and three rebounds.
The Bears owned a 48-33 advantage on the glass and collected 21 offensive rebounds, allowing them to 33 free throw attempts to just 10 for F&M.
The Bears' 74 points are the most they've scored this season in a Centennial Conference game, and were one short of tying the season-high of 75 against Immaculata.
Ursinus hits the road and travel to Washington College on Saturday before returning to Collegeville on Tuesday for a matchup with Swarthmore.