Women's Hoops Drops Playoff Nail-Biter

Women's Hoops Drops Playoff Nail-Biter

BALTIMORE, Md. – The Ursinus College women's basketball team gave Johns Hopkins a major scare in the Centennial Conference first-round game on Tuesday night, taking a lead into the final five minutes and change before the Blue Jays locked down on defense and hung on for a 62-56 victory.

Fourth-seeded Johns Hopkins moves on to face top-seeded Gettysburg in the semifinals on Friday, while the Bears saw their breakthrough season come to a hard-fought end.

Sophomore Lydia Konstanzer paired game highs of 21 points and 15 rebounds for Ursinus (13-13), and freshman Aliyah Stephens added 14 points and seven boards. Freshman Maya Kornfeld played all 40 minutes and collected eight points, five rebounds, three assists, and three blocks, and senior Rachel Guy had five points and six rebounds in her final game.

Ursinus came out red-hot, sprinting to a 9-0 lead in the first three minutes and forcing a quick Hopkins timeout. The Blue Jays discovered their composure and eventually took a 14-13 lead before the Bears ended the opening quarter with a 24-20 lead.

The visitors led 37-35 at halftime and gained some separation in the third quarter, stretching the spread to eight following a three-point play by Stephens and a 3-pointer out of the hands of classmate Marisa Morano. Stephens' layup made it 48-40 with 2:28 to go in the third quarter, but from that point on the Bears went cold.

The Blue Jays wrested the upper hand back with a 9-0 run bridging the end of the period, and Konstanzer ended a drought of more than six minutes with a basket that made it 50-49 Ursinus with 6:03 remaining. Kornfeld answered Lillian Scott's three-point play with a jumper before Sophia Way scored four quick points to make it 56-52 and put Hopkins on top to stay.

Ursinus was just 7 for 34 from the field (20.6 percent) in the second half and 30.8 percent overall. The Blue Jays weren't much better at 34.3 percent, but made seven 3-pointers to three for the Bears and got 20 points from its bench. Ursinus won the battle of the boards, 51-43.

Way led four Blue Jays in double figures with 14 points. Scott scored 13, Lexie Scholtz had 12, and Rory Cole chipped in 10.

Junior Brielle Clarke scored five points off the bench for Ursinus, including a three-point play and two free throws that gave the Bears a 35-31 lead late in the second quarter.

The Bears, who made the postseason despite spending the second half of the season without star sophomore Toni Suler, will bring four starters back for the 2018-19 campaign.