Bryn Mawr, Pa. - In front of a rowdy crowd of well over 100 rabid Owls fans, Bryn Mawr battled back from a 14-point halftime deficit to nearly tie tonight's game against Valley Forge in the second half, but it would still not be enough in the end. The Patriots dissapointed the packed house by sneaking away with a 54-44 victory, using some late free throws to pull away in the final minutes. Chantille Kennedy led the Owls with 13 points on the night, including eight in the second half to help trim the Bryn Mawr deficit to just six points. Veronica Roux also had an impressive night, scoring 12 points and wreaking havoc on the inside with four steals. However, the Patriots got 12 points from leading scorer Mikala Brinson despite foul trouble, and managed to squeeze enough out of the rest of their bench to hold on, barely, in the end.
It was another slow start on the evening for the Owls, as Valley Forge (4-14) jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the opening minutes. Bryn Mawr (1-15) would get on the board with a basket from Sanam Sheriff to close that run, but the rest of the first half was more of the same. Valley Forge would put together multi-basket runs, forcing the Owls to play catchup in an attempt to stay in contact with their opponents. Kennedy did close out the half on a high note, however. With the Owls trailing 35-19, they managed to earn one final possession in the offensive end. Two different players missed layups with under five seconds to go, but the team kept working hard on the offensive glass. The ball found its way back into the hands of Kennedy, who threw up one last shot that banked off the glass and in as she was fouled. Although she missed the follow-up free throw, the basket helped give the crowd something to cheer about and the Owls a little bit of momentum going into halftime.
At the halftime break, the crowd kept the energy up with several mini-games, including a relay race that was won by the senior class. Several great prizes were raffled off, and in a competition of all four classes, it was the sophomores who had come out in force, earning themselves a free pizza party during the second half. With the students in a frenzy, several faculty and staff members in attendance, and even President Kim Cassidy on hand, Bryn Mawr was sure to have plenty of fight in them when they came out for the second half.
The Owls would need a big run in the half to overcome their 14-point halftime deficit, and they got right to work chipping away at that lead as soon as the second half started. Bryn Mawr got an easy basket thanks to a great set play design by the coaching staff, allowing Sheriff to get open under the basket on a back cut for an easy layup. Valley Forge would respong with a basket of their own, but Roux scored a layup on a nice spin move to make it 38-25. Both teams traded several empty possessions back and forth until Roux finally tallied another nice layup to make it just an eleven-point game.
Another Patriots basket put a stop to the run, briefly, but then the Owls would start to make some hay at the free throw line. Roux would be the first to earn a trip to the stripe, where she would split a pair to make it 40-28. Then, Chantille Kennedy made a pair of freebies, after which a missed three-pointer from the Patriots led to an easy layup for Holly Constants to get the deficit back into single digits for the first time since early in the first half. Even a Patriots timeout couldn't slow down the Owls roll, as this time Adrianna Castilla-Hernandez would earn a pair of free throws and promptly sink them both to make it just 40-34 in favor of the visitors.
The Patriots finally got back on the scoreboard with a pair of baskets to make it a ten-point game, but Kennedy answered back with a sweet jumper on an assist by Sheriff. Later, Kennedy would add another three more free throws to her tally, giving her the 13-point total. Unfortunately, it would not be enough to overcome the deficit. The Patriots finally started converting some baskets late in the half, and made just enough of their free throws at the end to walk away with the 54-44 win.
The Owls will now get a nice break from action, having the rest of the week off before returning to the court next Wednesday. Bryn Mawr will make the short trip down the road to Swarthmore to kick off their final road trip of the season. Game time is set for 6:00 PM on the Garnet campus.