BRYN MAWR, Pa. - It was a rowdy atmosphere inside the Class of 1958 Gymnasium earlier Tuesday night as Bryn Mawr welcomed Washington College to campus for a Centennial Conference showdown. The two sides battled it out in a virtual deadlock most of the way through the game, as Bryn Mawr combined a high-pressure defense to force turnovers with an efficient offensive attack to stay neck-and-neck with the Shorewomen the whole night. Halena Martin led the Owls with an impressive 19-point performance, while fellow sophomore Sydney Garner pulled down 14 rebounds and posted four blocks on the night. However, Washington College managed to cling to a small lead virtually the whole way through the contest, and in the end the Shorewomen claimed a 51-42 victory after some game-sealing free throws.
The Owls got off to a fantastic start in the affair, with Garner hitting a jumper inside after a great post entry pass from Halena Martin. The Owls would extend their lead to three points after Laya Paladugu split a pair of free throws. On the other end of the floor, Bryn Mawr's defense was completely shutting down the Washington College attack. The Owls forced six missed shots and three turnovers from the Shorewomen, who did not score their first points of the game until 5:30 had elapsed from the first quarter. However, that first basket was a deep three-pointer from Jordan Weir to tie the game back up. That sparked an 8-0 run from the visitors while Bryn Mawr found themselves unable to find the bottom of the basket for the second part of the first quarter. The Owls finally got back on the scoreboard with 39 seconds to go in the frame, as Martin drained a pair of free throws on back-to-back possessions to get Bryn Mawr back within one point before the quarter ended.
The second quarter was another low-scoring affair early on, but it was the Owls who broke the seal at the 7:10 mark to vault back into the lead. After a strong defensive rebound from Lipi Paladugu, the ball worked its way into Martin's hands on the other side of the floor, and the sophomore hit a wide open jumper to give Bryn Mawr a 9-8 advantage. Washington College tied the game on a single free throw from Cassidy Quattro, but Bryn Mawr jumped back ahead on another great post move from Sydney Garner. The seesaw battle continued with the Shorewomen tying things back up with two more free throws, but the Owls responded with two big freebies from Sydney Garner. This time, Washington College answered via a jumper from Bridget McLaughlin to make it 13-all. The Owls kept their foot on the gas by knocking down their first three-pointer of the night at the 3:41 mark, courtesy of Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson, who was well outside the arc when she nailed the triple. Unfortunately, that would be the final basket of the half for the Owls, and the Shorewomen responded with a seven-point rally to get back in front and take a 20-16 lead to the locker room at halftime.
In the third frame, Bryn Mawr once again started out hot. After a Shorewomen bucket to open things, Laya Paladugu stole a pass and went coast-to-coast for an easy basket that sparked a Bryn Mawr rally. After Sydney Garner pulled down another strong rebound, the Owls clawed their way even closer as Martin nailed a three-pointer from the wing. That brought Bryn Mawr back within one point, and they had two possessions to try and get back out in front, but the Shorewomen defense bowed up and stopped both of those efforts. Then, Washington College put together a run of their own to finally gain a little bit of breathing room, but only momentarily. A six-point rally gave the visitors a 28-21 advantage, but the Owls kept it close with another layup from Laya Paladugu. That would be Bryn Mawr's last basket of the quarter though, and the Shorewomen ended the frame with another eight-point spurt to take a 36-23 lead to the final period.
Facing their biggest deficit of the night, the Owls immediately got to work chipping away. A jumper from Martin opened the scoring in the fourth quarter, and then Garner earned another trip to the free throw line, where she sank two more freebies. In fact, the Owls hit six out of eight free throws in the fourth quarter, part of a 13-for-16 performance from the charity stripe in the game. Later on in the period, Kara Breeden would hit a jumper off of a nice feed from Garner, and then Martin hit another jumper of her own to get Bryn Mawr within seven points. A three-minute scoreless stretch littered with turnovers, steals, blocks, and missed shots kept either side from making any headway midway through the frame. Finally, at the 3:25 mark, Laya Paladugu hit another layup, making it a 38-33 contest. However, Washington College answered right back with a three-pointer to momentarily seize the momentum back. After a timeout, Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson converted one of two free throws, but a pair of free throws from the Shorewomen gave the visitors a nine-point lead. With time winding down and the Owls in need of a big shot, they got one from Martin, who nailed another three from the baseline. Unfortunately, the hosts were at the stage in the night where they needed to put Washington College at the line and hope they missed some free throws, and that simply did not happen. The Shorewomen sealed the game by going eight-for-eight from the stripe in the final 1:09 of play. Bryn Mawr had outscored the Shorewomen 19-15 in the final quarter, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Washington College advantage, and the visitors managed to escape with a 51-42 win.
Despite the final outcome, it was certainly a positive effort from Bryn Mawr all-around. Besides the big games from Martin and Garner, who missed a double-double by just two points, the Owls also got seven points from Laya Paladugu and four from Elizabeth-Robertson. Defensive rebounding was hard to come by for both teams; incredibly, Washington College pulled down more offensive rebounds in the game (22) than they did defensive ones (20). The Shorewomen were led by 13 points from Bridget McLaughlin and another eight by Caitlyn Clark.
Bryn Mawr will close out the week with two more Centennial Conference contests, first traveling down I-476 on Thursday night to take on Swarthmore in a rematch of a thrilling contest from earlier this season. Then, the Owls play their final home game of the 2017-18 season on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 PM. Bryn Mawr will celebrate Senior Day and welcome Gettysburg to campus for one last basketball game on the Class of 1958 Gymnasium floor this season.