ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Centennial Conference juggernaut Muhlenberg continued to be a thorn in the Ursinus College women's basketball team's side as the Mules downed the Bears, 73-63, at Memorial Hall.
Ursinus (12-6, 9-4) was looking to snap a 20-game drought against the 10-time CC champion Mules, with the last Ursinus victory coming in Allentown in 2008. But it wasn't the night to reverse the streak.
Sophomores Maya Kornfeld and Aliyah Stephens each scored 16 points apiece for the Bears in the loss. Kornfeld scored 12 of her points in the first half, making her first four shots from the field and her first three attempts from 3-point range. The point guard added seven rebounds and four assists. Stephens tallied nine rebounds, four blocks, and three assists.
Despite 12 first-half turnovers and 19 total, the Bears found themselves within a basket at 35-33 at halftime. But it was the Mules (11-6, 7-5) who raced out to a 15-5 run out of the break to break free.
Ursinus chipped away at Muhlenberg's 12-point lead, getting it to six (52-46) after a pair of Stephens free throws with two minutes left in the third quarter. The Bears held the Mules scoreless for more than four minutes during that stretch.
Trailing 54-46 heading into the fourth quarter, junior Toni Suler – who hauled in game highs of ten boards and five blocks – got the visitors back within six points on a put-back. But Mikaela McGarvey caught fire as she nailed three-straight long-range daggers to give the Mules their largest lead of 15 points (63-48) with over seven minutes to play.
McGarvey poured in a game high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 5-of-8 from 3-point range. McGarvey made all five of the Mules' triples; the rest of the team went 0-of-11.
The Bears shot 35.6 percent (21-of-59) overall, while Muhlenberg shot 41.5 percent (27-of-65) from the field. Ursinus did better from the 3-point line, going 8-of-21 (38.1%). Ursinus outgained Muhlenberg on the glass, 44-37, but committed 19 turnovers to just 10 for the Mules.
Early on, the Bears opened the scoring as sophomore Marisa Morano drained a 3-pointer just 20 seconds in but the Bears struggled to make a field goal for much of the first quarter. Stephens ended the Bears' eight-minute drought without a basket when she hit a jumper with 1:39 left in the quarter. After the Bears' 3-0 lead and four-minute scoreless stretch, the Mules ran off a 16-5 run to go up eight points. Muhlenberg took advantage of sub-par ball control as the Bears' turned it over six times in the first stanza.
However, the Bears closed the quarter strong with a quick 7-0 spurt. Stephens drained a sideline jumper as the shot clock was expiring with less than two minutes in the stanza to get the Bears within one point of the Mules at 16-15.
Picking up from a strong close to the first quarter, the Bears started the second quarter hitting six of their first nine attempts. Morano banked in a long jumper to give Ursinus its first lead 17-16; she is now 12-of-16 (75%) from the floor in her last three games after a 3-for-5 effort for eight points.
To give the Bears' a five-point edge (30-25), freshman Gabby Downs buried Ursinus' fifth 3-pointer of the half. Downs finished with three triples and 14 points.
A second-chance basket and a fast break after a steal put the Mules back in the lead 35-30 before Kornfeld's 3 with 40 seconds remaining in the half pulled the Bears within two.
Ursinus looks to get back on track at Dickinson Saturday for a 2 p.m. tip-off. The Bears knocked off the Red Devils, 66-54, at Helfferich Hall on Dec. 1.