LANGHORNE, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr basketball team got their first taste of action on the road this season with another thrilling contest earlier Thursday night. Erica Dwyer continued her torrid start to the season with yet another crazy performance. On this night, the sophomore was on fire from beyond the arc, setting a school record with seven made three-balls in the game. Unfortunately, her 26-point effort would not be enough to get Bryn Mawr over the top, as Cairn held off a late comeback effort by the Owls to take a 72-65 win on the night.
Bryn Mawr (0-2) got off to a solid start in the contest, building off their strong game against Cedar Crest on Tuesday by getting out to an early lead on this evening. After a bucket by the Highlanders (1-1) to open the game, Elizabeth Chan went down to the other end and hit a jumper of her own to tie things up. Then, a great defensive rebound on a Cairn miss led to Dwyer's first three of the night to propel the Owls out in front 5-2. Cairn would turn the ball over on their next possession, and an offensive rebound by Adriana Castilla-Hernandez led to another jumper from Chan, getting the Owls ahead 7-2.
Unfortunately for the visitors, that would be the last lead they would see in the half. Cairn would go on a 15-1 run over the next five minutes, with a jumper from Kendra Stum giving the hosts a 17-8 advantage. The Owls managed to close the gap for a bit, with Sydney Garner doing great work down low to get a bucket and the foul, converting the three-point play to keep things close. Later on in the first quarter, Castilla-Hernandez would hit the only "non-Dwyer" three of the night for Bryn Mawr, and then she would convert a layup with just six seconds left in the frame to make it a 22-16 Cairn lead.
Bryn Mawr did a great job trimming that lead down in the second quarter, particularly over the last five minutes. After the Highlanders' advantage ballooned up to nine points midway through the frame, the Owls started hacking away at the margin. Dwyer hit two threes sandwiched around a Cairn basket, and then a jumper from Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson made it a three-point game. It would stay roughly around that margin into the final minute of the half, when a layup from Chan cut the Cairn lead to 37-35 with 20 seconds to play. However, the Highlanders got the final points of the half on a pair of free throws from Charlotte Camp, ultimately heading into the locker room with a four-point advantage.
That rally in the second quarter seemed to carry over into the third as well, as the Owls continued to trim the deficit out of the halftime break. Garner used great positioning to earn herself a layup, and then Chan hit a pair of freebies to make it a 40-39 Cairn lead. Then some great Owls defense forced a missed jumper by the Highlanders, and Bryn Mawr was able to go down the other way and get Dwyer a great look at a layup. The sophomore guard converted, giving the Owls their first lead since the early minutes of the first quarter. Cairn would answer back on the other end to get out in front again, but Bryn Mawr retook the advantage on another layup by Garner with 6:37 left in the third quarter.
Unfortunately for Bryn Mawr, that lead was a fleeting one. An 8-0 run from the hosts forced Owls head coach Rebecca Tyler into a 30 second timeout, which ended up being a great call. Bryn Mawr was able to run a play to find Dwyer open again from beyond the arc, and she converted to get the Owls back within four. Another three-ball from Dwyer with 1:50 left in the quarter would be the final basket of the frame, and it sent the teams into the final quarter with Bryn Mawr down just one and looking to complete a big comeback win.
With both sides looking to get off to a quick start in the decisive fourth quarter, it was Cairn that seized the momentum early on. A rare three from the hosts fell, and that seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back for the Owls. Cairn would go on a 13-0 run to start the fourth frame, ultimately leaping out to a 63-49 lead in the contest with 5:47 left to play. Many teams as young as Bryn Mawr is would have folded at that point, but not the Owls. Bryn Mawr did a great job of pressing and forcing turnovers after that, managing to trim their deficit all the way back down to three after a free throw from Odinaka Oranekwu with just over two minutes left to play. Unfortunately, that would be as close as the Owls could get, as they were unable to hit any big shots late, while Cairn converted most of their late free throw opportunities to claim the 72-65 victory.
With her fantastic performance on the night, Dwyer shattered two records for the Owls. Not only were her seven made threes the most in a single game in Bryn Mawr history, but her three-point percentage (7 of 11, 63.6%) was the best in a single game for the Owls as well. Dwyer wasn't alone in having a good night, as Chan had a very solid 14-point effort for the Owls as well. Castilla-Hernandez and Garner each chipped in another seven points for Bryn Mawr. It just wasn't enough to combat the really big night that the Highlanders had, as all five of their starters scored double-digit points, led by Madelyn Brodish with 17.
Bryn Mawr will look to continue to build off their solid start to the season when they get right back in action on Saturday. The Owls will return home to host Wilson College this weekend, with Saturday's contest slated to tip off at 2:00 PM.