BRYN MAWR, Pa. - It was a rare late-January non-conference game for the Bryn Mawr basketball team on Monday night, as the Owls welcomed Cairn to campus for a 7:00 PM tip. In a series that has historically been mostly very tight, back-and-forth affairs, tonight's contest proved to be a slightly different result. Bryn Mawr got out of the gate strong and kept in contact most of the way though the first half, but the Highlanders used hot shooting in the second half to pull away to a 69-41 victory. Bryn Mawr was led by solid nights from Halena Martin with 11 points and Laya Paladugu with ten. On the other side, Cairn featured four players who scored double-digit points, led by Aigner Bookard with 15. Charlotte Camp also tallied a double-double for the Highlanders with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The two teams both hit their first shot attempts of the game, with the Owls tying things up at 2-2 thanks to a jumper from Martin on a great pass from Brendan Harrison. Cairn would put together back-to-back baskets over the next few minutes of a low-scoring period, but Sydney Garner answered back with a great post move and finish, again on a feed from Harrison. Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson and Elizabeth Chan would also each tally baskets in the first frame, but the Highlanders still managed to pull away to a 16-8 lead by the end of the quarter. Bryn Mawr continued to chip away at that deficit in the second, starting with a nice drive for a layup from Odinaka Oranekwu. After a bucket from Camp for the Highlanders, Bryn Mawr cut the margin to just five points on a three-pointer drilled by Laya Paladugu. A few possessions later, Paladugu cut in front of a Cairn pass and went coast-to-coast for a layup to get Bryn Mawr within three and get the Class of 1958 Gymnasium rocking.
Over the next few minutes, Cairn was able to extend their lead a bit, but the Owls kept right with their opponents. A quick five-point run from the Highlanders bumped their lead back out to eight, but Paladugu stayed hot to keep Bryn Mawr in the mix. First, she hit a jumper with just over three minutes to go, and then a few possessions later, the freshman split a pair of free throws to make it a five-point affair once again. Unfortunately for the Owls, Cairn put together another run of their own, and it proved to be a back-breaker. In the final 2:49 of the half, the Highlanders drilled two killer three-pointers late in possessions, sandwiched around a pair of free throws. That gave the visitors a 13-point advantage, though a buzzer-beating jumper from Chan did help to send the Owls into the halftime break on a minor positive note.
Bryn Mawr came out of the locker room with some really inspired play in the third quarter, starting on the defensive side. The Highlanders started the frame with possession, but Harrison drew a steal just ten seconds in, and that led to a Martin jumper on the other end. After a strong defensive possession, the Owls came down the floor and found the same combination, Harrison to Martin, only this time the sophomore drilled a three. The Owls now found themselves back within six less than a minute into the period. The two sides traded baskets on their next possessions, with Martin staying hot by knocking down yet another jumper. Unfortunately, that would be as close as the Owls could get things. Cairn went on a 15-0 run over the next six minutes of played, powered by back-to-back threes from Payton Emerick and Jenna Krage. Martin hit another jumper to end that rally, giving the powerful sophomore nine points in the frame, but when the dust finally settled on the third quarter, Cairn held a 52-29 advantage. Try as they might, the Owls defense still could not stop the potent Highlanders attack in the fourth. The visitors shot 4-for-8 from the floor and 9-for-12 from the line in the frame, allowing them to ultimately pull away to the 69-41 win on the night.
Bryn Mawr's bench had a very impressive night, putting up a combined 22 points for the Owls in the contest. Paladugu led that crew with ten while Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson added eight and Oranekwu knocked down a pair of baskets for four points. Harrison had a solid night distributing the ball with five assists.
The Owls will head right back into Centennial Conference play this weekend when they host Dickinson on Saturday. Game time for Saturday's contest is 2:00 PM in the Class of 1958 Gymnasium.