BRYN MAWR, Pa. – Stingy defense and one big run – the Ursinus College women's basketball team has found its winning formula.
Junior Lydia Konstanzer paired 14 points with 11 rebounds for her second straight double-double and sophomores Aliyah Stephens and Maya Kornfeld matched that scoring output to power the Bears (6-3, 4-2) past Bryn Mawr, 60-34, on Saturday for their fourth consecutive victory. Ursinus will enter 2019 tied for fourth place in the Centennial Conference standings.
Ursinus stymied the Owls to a 26.5-percent overall shooting performance and closed the first half on a 16-0 run after the home side had pulled even at 19-apiece midway through the second stanza. The contest was reminiscent of Wednesday's 49-41 win at Washington College, when the Bears held the Shorewomen under to just 29.6 percent from the floor and used a 15-0 burst to overturn a seven-point third-quarter deficit.
Saturday marked the fourth straight contest in which Ursinus' opponent has shot under 35 percent from the field, and was the third time this season that the Bears kept a foe below 30 percent.
The Bears were just 1-for-10 from 3-point range and struggled with their half-court offense but were lethal in transition and on the attack as Kornfeld and Stephens got into the lane at will. Stephens (12 points) and Konstanzer (10 points, 8 rebounds) carried the load in the first half, while Kornfeld had ten points after the break to lead a varied offense.
Eleven players took the court for Ursinus, and nine of them scored. Sophomore Katherine Eckhoff netted a career-high five points and was matched by Sorokanych, who made two of her three shots. Freshman Molly Duncan and sophomore Elizabeth Burke each hit an important jump shot in the closing seconds of the first two quarters, and junior Francesca Bogiatzis grabbed a career-high six rebounds.
The Bears appeared to be in cruise control from the opening tip, jumping out to a 6-0 lead on back-to-back baskets by Stephens and another from Konstanzer on their first three possessions. But the Owls made things interesting with a pair of solid spurts in the first half, the first an 8-4 run that got them within 12-8 with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter.
Konstanzer put out the first fire with a personal run of five straight points, receiving a nice bounce pass from fellow junior forward Toni Suler for an easy bank shot before making a free throw and splitting two defenders for another basket. After a 3-pointer by Bryn Mawr's Halena Martin, Duncan stepped in and banked home a long jump shot from the right wing to put Ursinus ahead 19-11 at the first-quarter buzzer.
The Bears fell into a rut in the second quarter, going almost five minutes without denting the scoreboard and allowing the Owls to get even at 19-19 in the process. Kornfeld drove baseline and dropped a pocket pass to Stephens for banked lay-in to give Ursinus the lead for good at the 5:24 mark of the quarter, and Bryn Mawr did not score again until after halftime.
A free throw by Konstanzer and consecutive baskets by Kornfeld stretched the lead to seven, and Stephens capped her own personal four-point string with a spinning put-back to give the Bears a double-digit cushion at 30-19. Bogiatzis knocked down two free throws and Burke canned an open mid-range jump shot from the left side on a kick-out by Sorokanych to make it 34-19 before Sorokanych hit one of two foul shots with 14 seconds left to polish off the 16-0 spurt.
Bryn Mawr (0-8, 0-5) stopped the bleeding with the first three points of the third quarter, but Kornfeld and Stephens each made a shot through contract to restore order and set the Bears on the path to a comfortable win.
Ursinus dominated the glass, collecting 18 offensive rebounds en route to a 49-28 overall advantage. Konstanzer (6) and Stephens (5) combined for 11 offensive boards on their own, and five Bears pulled down at least six total caroms. Kornfeld (7-for-10), Konstanzer (5-for-9), and Stephens (6-for-12) combined to go 18-of-31 from the field for the Bears, who held a 32-12 surplus in the paint.
Ursinus closes out the 2018 portion of its schedule at Albright on December 30.