Bryn Mawr Nipped by Bears Despite Strong Defensive Performance

Elizabeth Chan defends against Ursinus in December 2018

BRYN MAWR, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr basketball team put on a very strong showing against Ursinus earlier Saturday afternoon in the Class of 1958 Gymnasium. The Owls held the Bears to their lowest point total in the series between the two teams since 2013, thanks in part to some tremendous effort on the defensive side of the ball. Bryn Mawr forced the Bears into 14 turnovers on the day, and that allowed the Owls to match their opponents with nine points off turnovers in the contest. Halena Martin had another strong game for Bryn Mawr, as she led the team in scoring with 13 points on the day. Unfortunately, Ursinus was dominant on the boards in this one, as the Bears outrebounded Bryn Mawr 49-28. Their height advantage led to a major disparity in 2nd chance points (16-5) and points in the paint (32-12), and those numbers ultimately proved the difference in a 60-34 win for Ursinus. The visitors were led by 14 points apiece from Lydia Konstanzer, Aliyah Stephens, and Maya Kornfeld.

Ursinus got out to a fast start, scoring the first three baskets of the game, but Elizabeth Chan answered back with a jumper from the wing off of a great pass from Odinaka Oranekwu to get the Owls on the board. Another bucket and two free throws gave the Bears an early 10-2 lead, but then the Owls began to clamp down and fight their way back in the game. Laya Paladugu nailed a jumper of her own, and later a jumper from Martin and then two free throws for the junior forward on the next possession made it just 12-8. Martin tallied one more basket before the quarter ended, a deep three-pointer with 16 seconds left, but the Bears had closed the frame on a 7-3 run to take a 19-11 lead into the second quarter.

That stoppage came at the perfect time for the Owls to catch their breath and reset, and they came into the second quarter with a sense of calmness and determination. Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson got the scoring started for Bryn Mawr by fighting through contact to hit a layup down low on the block. That earned her a trip to the line for the "and-1", and although she missed, the play seemed to set the tone for the Owls in the early part of the second quarter. Bryn Mawr buckled down on the defensive end, forcing three missed shots and ultimately earning another trip to the line the next time down the floor. This time, Chan was able to sink two free throws, and suddenly it was just a four-point game. After another great defensive possession where the Owls forced Ursinus to take a bad shot late in the shot clock, the hosts came back the other way and got within a basket thanks to a layup from Lipi Paladugu. That forced Ursinus into a quick timeout to try and stop the Bryn Mawr rally, but even that tactic did not work. On the Bears' ensuing possession, Lipi Paladugu once again made a brilliant play, stepping in front of an Ursinus pass at the top of the arc and then taking it coast-to-coast for another layup to tie the game at 19-19.

Unfortunately, over the final 6:24 of the second quarter, the Owls' offense went ice cold. It had an eerily similar feel to Wednesday night's close loss to Swarthmore, where the Owls battled their way back to a lead midway through the second frame, only to see the Garnet go on a 15-0 run to retake a firm grip on the lead. This time, the Owls' opponents went on a 16-0 run to close the quarter, with only three empty possessions for the Bears along the way. In a strange quarter that saw Bryn Mawr score the first eight points and then the Bears score the final 16 points of the frame, ultimately Ursinus took a 35-19 lead to the locker room at the half.

Bryn Mawr tried to battle their way back in the second half, and put up another strong defensive quarter in the third frame. The Owls allowed just ten points in the quarter, holding Ursinus to a measly 4-of-16 from the floor. However, they themselves were only able to score six points, allowing the Bears to take a 20-point advantage to the final quarter. Ursinus also won the final frame as well; despite points from Martin, Lipi Paladugu, and Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson, the Bears were able to pull away to a 60-34 win.

The Owls will be back in action next Wednesday for a non-conference matchup against Bryn Athyn, with tipoff in the Class of 1958 Gymnasium set for 7:00 PM. Meanwhile, you can get a look at the photos from today's contest right here!