WESTMINSTER, Md. - Bryn Mawr's basketball team traveled over to western Maryland earlier Saturday afternoon for another Centennial Conference showdown. This time, the Owls faced off against McDaniel College, and Bryn Mawr gave the Green Terror a real scare on this day. Bryn Mawr pushed McDaniel the entire way, keeping things within single digits late into the fourth quarter. The Owls got their deficit down to seven with under a minute left, but ultimately McDaniel was able to hang on for a 65-57 win. Laya Paladugu led the way for Bryn Mawr with a very impressive performance, putting up a career-high 26 points. Halena Martin added a double-double for the Owls with 12 points and 11 rebounds. McDaniel was led by 11 points from Caroline Ward.
McDaniel took an early lead in the contest, but Martin answered right back on a nice pass from Elizabeth Chan to tie the game up at 2-2. A jumper from Brendan Harrison and then Paladugu's first basket of the day kept things close in the first four minutes of action. McDaniel was able to string a few baskets together over the middle of the quarter, but baskets from Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson and Odinaka Oranekwu brought the visitors right back. By the end of the first frame, Bryn Mawr had done a great job of building a diverse attack, with five different players scoring for the Black and Yellow, and the Owls trailed just 11-14.
The second quarter was a bit of a tougher start for Bryn Mawr, as Ward drilled back-to-back threes for McDaniel and Anna Mondoro added another to help the Green Terror build a 25-11 advantage over three minutes into the frame. Shannon Fisher tallied her first basket of the season to help the Owls stop that run, and a few minutes later Paladugu hit another layup. However, McDaniel had stretched their lead out to 30-15 with 3:17 to go in the quarter. Paladugu would bank home another layup on the next Owls possession, and then two free throws from Martin and a deep three-pointer from Paladugu got Bryn Mawr back within 11. Bryn Mawr's defense stepped up their play too, with Martin earning a steal on McDaniel's ensuing possession, and that led to a pair of free throws for Paladugu that trimmed the deficit to single digits. A jumper from McDaniel momentarily bumped their lead back up, but the Owls did a great job on their final possession, ultimately getting the ball inside to Elizabeth-Robertson where the strong forward was able to earn a trip to the line. The senior nailed both free throws, getting Bryn Mawr back within single digits as the half ended.
The Owls continued to give McDaniel fits early on in the third quarter. After the hosts sank an early basket, Laya Paladugu buried another deep triple, and then a big defensive rebound from Odinaka Oranekwu led to a breakout that saw Paladugu find Martin for a wide open jumper to cut Bryn Mawr's deficit to just six. However, the Green Terror scored the next six points of the frame to get back up 43-31. Paladugu continued to remain unstoppable, putting home several more baskets and getting some help from Chan and Oranekwu. Still, McDaniel finally had found their offense, and the hosts built a 56-39 lead headed into the final frame.
Bryn Mawr's defense did a tremendous job of locking down in the final quarter, as the visitors held McDaniel to just nine points in the frame. That gave the Owls a chance to get back in the game, and that started with a couple of free throws for Martin. Chan made a layup of her own, and then Paladugu drilled another three-pointer, but Bryn Mawr found themselves trailing 64-46 as Ward proved to be the lone McDaniel player who could generate any offense in the latter stage of the game. The Owls tried to make one last push, helped in part by continued trips to the charity stripe, with Martin, Paladugu, and Chan combining for eight points from the line over the next several minutes. That, combined with Paladugu's fourth triple of the game got Bryn Mawr back within seven, but it was just too little, too late as McDaniel hit a late free throw to preserve their 65-57 win.
Despite the result, the Owls still have plenty of positives to build off of after today's performance. They'll get their next chance on Wednesday night, as Bryn Mawr kicks off a four-game homestand on Wednesday with a game against Swarthmore. That night is Bryn Mawr's "Blackout Game", so be sure to come to the game wearing black and cheer on your Owls as they look to topple the Garnet in the Class of 1958 Gymnasium.