ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr basketball team traveled up the road to Muhlenberg earlier Tuesday night for another tough test against a Centennial Conference opponent. The Owls struggled early on, but put together a solid second half in a 40-85 loss to the undefeated Mules. Freshman Erica Dwyer led all scorers in the game with 17 points, while Adriana Castilla-Hernandez chipped in another ten. The Mules, meanwhile, saw three players hit double-digits, including a team-high 12 points from Eva Sodaitis off the bench.
Muhlenberg (7-0) got off to a fast start in tonight's contest, starting the game out on a 17-0 run to take a big lead early. Bryn Mawr (2-6) couldn't get much going on the offensive side, while the Mules were able to capitalize on some turnovers and offensive rebounds to help build their advantage. However, Dwyer finally found her shooting stroke midway through the first quarter, as she was able to knock down a pair of three-pointers to get the Owls their first buckets of the game. Later on in the frame, Elizabeth Chan split a pair of free throws, and then Castilla-Hernandez got herself on the scoresheet with a nice jumper off of an offensive rebound by Sanam Sheriff.
Unfortunately on the other end, the Owls were still searching for a way to slow down the high-powered Muhlenberg offense. The Mules feature the strongest attack by far in the Centennial Conference. They average 79 points per game, almost 20 points more than the second-highest scoring team in the league. One of the reasons for that is that Muhlenberg is also the best-shooting team in the league, both from the floor as a whole and particularly from beyond the arc. That trend continued tonight, as the hosts shot an overwhelming 54.7 percent from the floor in the first half. Meanwhile, Bryn Mawr's shooting struggles carried over into the second quarter as well, as the Owls shot just 15.7 percent in the first half. Ultimately, that added up to a 50-19 halftime lead for the Mules.
However, Bryn Mawr did an impressive job of rallying in the second half and putting that rough start behind them. In the third quarter, the Owls held Muhlenberg to just 13 points, their second-lowest scoring quarter this year for the Mules. On the offensive side, Bryn Mawr shot a higher percentage than the Mules as well. Veronica Roux got things started early by drawing a foul and converting one of her two free throws. Then, the Owls locked down on defense, keeping Muhlenberg from scoring for the first 3:44 of the period. Roux hit a transition layup to keep Bryn Mawr's run going, and later on in the frame, Dwyer would hit another three-pointer. Muhlenberg managed to finally find some offense in the latter part of the quarter, but a layup from Chan and another three-ball from Dwyer helped Bryn Mawr continue in the right direction heading into the fourth quarter.
Muhlenberg picked their offense back up in the final frame, but there were still some bright spots for the Owls as well. Castilla-Hernandez put together a nice pair of possessions midway through the quarter, using a great drive to get open for a ten-foot jumper that she promptly sank. The next time down the floor, the junior guard took a pass from Dwyer at the top of the arc and banked home a three-pointer. Unfortunately it was too little, too late for that to matter on the scoreboard, as Muhlenberg ultimately coasted to an 85-40 win at home, but it was still a big improvement on recent results against the Mules for Bryn Mawr, and it gives the Owls plenty to build on going forward as well.
Bryn Mawr will continue their busy week on Thursday night when they return to campus for the first of two home games before the end of the semester. Thursday, the Owls host Bi-Co rival Haverford to the Class of 1958 Gymnasium for another test against a Centennial Conference opponent. The Fords are currently 0-2 in league play and 4-3 on the season, but they are coming off a 62-26 win over Cedar Crest on Monday night. Bryn Mawr will look to right the ship and build some more positive momentum on Thursday against their crosstown rivals, and things all tip off on Thursday at 7:00 PM.