COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Points were aplenty on Saturday afternoon as the Ursinus College women's basketball team treated the Helfferich Hall faithful to a delight of a Centennial Conference game that ended in a 96-89 overtime victory over Franklin & Marshall.
In an instant classic that featured 14 ties and 16 lead changes, Ursinus (8-4, 5-2) went on to score the most points in a game since posting 108 against Bryn Mawr in 1997 as a trio of 20-point scorers led the Bears to a win in their first conference clash of the new year.
Sophomore Aliyah Stephens led the charge with another do-it-all stat line with 24 points, 13 rebounds, seven steals, and two blocks. Stephens got herself to the line at will with a 10-of-14 effort from the charity stripe.
Sharp-shooter Gabby Downs came up big after a couple recent cold outings in her freshman campaign. Downs connected on all six of her 3-point attempts, enough to match the CC record for most made threes without a miss; that has only been accomplished one other time, 2001. Downs went on to pour in 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
Junior post player Lydia Konstanzer collected another double-double – her fifth in a row – with 21 points and 15 rebounds in addition to five steals.
Sophomore Maya Kornfeld directed the offensive masterfully at the point guard positon. Kornfeld scored 14 points and handed out a game-high eight assists to just two turnovers.
The fourth quarter ended with the score tied 80-80 after the Bears couldn't quite break free of the Diplomats, who battled valiantly all the way up to the final buzzer.
In the five-minute overtime session, Downs nailed a three to get the Bears the first bucket. Stephens converted a lay-up from a Konstanzer dish before Downs was fouled shooting a triple, and the rookie knocked down two free throws to put the Bears up 87-83. Needing a big bucket, Konstanzer finished at the rim to keep the lead at four points, 89-85, with 49 seconds to play.
On the defensive end, Konstanzer picked off a pass which forced the Diplomats into necessary fouling with not much time on the clock. From there, the Bears went to the free-throw line and hit some clutch foul shots to down Franklin & Marshall (5-6, 2-4).
For the Diplomats, Kristin Hamill poured in a game-high 27 points on 9-of-21 shooting and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Hamill also gathered in eight rebounds. Sarah Pisani scored 22 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting, 3-of-4 from beyond and a perfect 5-of-5 from the line, and handed out seven assists. Haley Pilone, the team's leading scorer, chipped in 14 points and Kenna Williams picked up a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
The Diplomats matched the Bears score-for-score and used the free-throw line to their advantage until late in the game when Franklin & Marshall missed crucial opportunities at the stripe. However, the Diplomats made 24-of-30 and the Bears converted on 27-of-38.
To start the fourth quarter, the Bears held a 65-62 lead with the Diplomats gaining the lead at various points. To tie the game at 67-67, Pisani threw a perfect dime to a cutting Pilone with just over seven minutes remaining.
Franklin & Marshall took a lead after Hamill's jumper to get it to 69-67, but the Bears went on a mini-run to reverse it to a four-point lead with 3:26 remaining after Stephens buried a turnaround mid-range jumper.
Franklin & Marshall's Sarosha Parsons scored on back-to-back Diplomat possessions to level the game at 78-78 with 2:27 remaining.
Konstanzer powered in another crucial lay-up to give the Bears a two-point cushion at 80-78 with over two minutes left, and Hamill split a pair of free throws to get the game to one point at 80-79.
With a chance to go ahead, the Diplomats threw the ball away with about 48 seconds remaining. Franklin & Marshall, however, caught a break when the Bears committed a foul in their own end trying to gather in a missed shot with 34 seconds remaining. The Diplomats were in the bonus with Williams shooting two free throws, but Williams made only one of two to tie the game.
The Bears had a chance to win in the closing seconds as Kornfeld launched a tough step-back jumper that came up short.
Franklin & Marshall shot 30-of-63 (47.6%) overall and 5-of-14 (35.7%) from three. Ursinus shot 31-of-73 (42.5%) and an outstanding 7-of-12 (58.3%) from beyond the arc.
The Diplomats led 25-23 after one quarter and 41-40 at halftime. The Bears shot 9-for-12 from the field and put up 25 third-quarter points to take a three-point lead into the final frame.
The Bears square off at home against McDaniel at 8 p.m. Thursday.