BRYN MAWR, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr basketball team closed out their fall semester earlier Saturday afternoon with a thrilling non-conference showdown against Penn College of Technology. In a back-and-forth affair that saw both sides hold the lead numerous times throughout the game, the contest ultimately came down to the final two-and-a-half minutes of action. Unfortunately for the Owls, they were unable to hang on to a 59-56 lead in that stretch, as the Wildcats closed the game on a furious 8-3 run to come back and claim a 64-62 victory. Madison Klock sparked the rally for the visitors, scoring 13 of her game-high 21 points in the final quarter to help lead her team to the win. The Owls got tremendous performances all over the court, led by 18 points from Halena Martin and a big 14-point day off the bench from Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson.
Penn College got out to a quick start with an early steal and a three-pointer right out of the gate. A free throw later, the Wildcats were up four early, but Bryn Mawr got right back in the game with a few quick buckets of their own. Elizabeth Chan's jumper 90 seconds in broke the seal for the Owls, and then Laya Paladugu continued her hot shooting this year with a deep three off of an assist from Halena Martin. After some empty possessions for both sides, Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson hit a jumper, and then Brendan Harrison made a great steal to lead to a fastbreak basket for Martin. A moment later, Paladugu hit another jumper, and halfway through the first quarter the Owls held an impressive 11-4 lead. Penn College was able to regroup, however, and it started at the free throw line. A pair of freebies brought the visitors back within five and then, after the two sides traded layups, the Wildcats hit two more free throws to get within 10-13. Another layup for Penn College brought them within one with two minutes left to go. Lipi Paladugu stemmed the tide of that run with a trip to the free throw line and two free throws of her own, but the Wildcats' Klock earned a steal and coast-to-coast layup to draw the visitors back within one. A single free throw from Chan would be the final scoring of the half for either side, and Bryn Mawr was able to take a 16-14 lead to the first quarter break.
Once again, it was the Wildcats who got off to the fast start to a quarter, as again they were able to bury a three-pointer on their first possession of the frame. In fact, it was raining threes on both sides to open the second quarter, as Lipi Paladugu answered with a three of her own before a Penn College offensive rebound led to another deep three for the Wildcats. That early barrage ultimately put the visitors in front 20-19, but the Owls quickly tied things up thanks to a split at the charity stripe from Elizabeth-Robertson. From there, though, Penn College would go on a 9-0 run to jump out to a 29-20 lead midway through the second quarter. A quick timeout from Owls head coach Becky Tyler kept things from getting too out of hand, however, as Bryn Mawr responded to the stoppage well. The Owls were able to regroup and get a bucket immediately out of that timeout, as a great pass from Harrison led to another wide open jumper for Elizabeth-Robertson. It seemed as if the relief might only be temporary, as back to back scoring possessions for the Wildcats helped them build their largest lead of the game at 33-22. However, Bryn Mawr was up for the battle, as the Owls closed out the half on an impressive 8-0 run to get right back in the game. That stretch opened with some strong shooting, as Martin and Elizabeth-Robertson knocked down jumpers. Then, that duo went to work at the free throw line, as each of them made strong drives to the hoop and cashed in on four free throws, sending the Owls to the half trailing just 30-33.
Bryn Mawr did a great job coming out strong in the third quarter, immediately earning another trip back to the free throw line. After Penn College responded with two free throws of their own, Elizabeth-Robertson and Martin put home back-to-back buckets to give the Owls the lead once again. Over the next several minutes, the two teams traded the lead back-and-forth several times, with a basket from Halena Martin tying things up at 40-all. Lipi Paladugu followed that up with a jumper to put the Owls ahead briefly, but Klock knocked down a triple on the ensuing Penn College possession to give the visitors a one-point advantage. However, Bryn Mawr closed out the quarter strong, with Chan and Elizabeth-Robertson knocking down free throws to ultimately give the Owls a 45-44 lead going into the final frame.
After a scoreless opening minute to the fourth quarter, it was Penn College who got the all-important opening basket to jump ahead 46-45. A free throw from Martin knotted the game back up, and then Odinaka Oranekwu made a strong drive to the hoop on the next possession to put Bryn Mawr back out in front. That sparked a crucial run for the Owls, with Martin and Laya Paladugu knocking down big baskets to put the hosts ahead 53-48. Later, a jumper from Chan and then a jumper from Martin helped the Owls continue to maintain that margin as the clock wound under four minutes. A basket and two free throws from the Wildcats got the visitors back within one, but another huge drive from Oranekwu got Bryn Mawr a bit of breathing room once again headed into the crucial final minutes of the game.
Unfortunately, it would be mostly the Wildcats from there on out, as Klock turned in an impressive fourth-quarter performance. After a layup with 2:27 to go to get the Wildcats within one, the freshman guard then made a great steal out top on the other end, leading to an easy fastbreak basket to give the visitors a 60-59 advantage. A quick 30-second timeout didn't lead to anything for the Owls offensively, and then the Wildcats hit the front end of a pair of free throws to go ahead by two. Cassi Kuhns missed the second free throw, but Penn College was able to come down with a huge offensive rebound. That allowed the visitors to ultimately kill off another 30 seconds of clock, and then earn another trip to the free throw line. This time, Klock split the pair, and the Owls had a chance to cut into the deficit or tie the game with under a minute to play. Unfortunately, a layup attempt spun cruelly off the rim, and ultimately Klock was able to corral the ball and earn another trip to the line. After she made both freebies, Coach Tyler took her final timeout, allowing the Owls to advance the ball into the frontcourt. She drew up a perfect play to get Martin a wide-open look at a three from the top of the arc, and the junior buried the triple in cold-blooded fashion. With plenty of time left, the Owls needed some help from the Wildcats at the line, and they got it. Kaylah Brown missed both free throw attempts, and a rebound from Oranekwu gave the Owls eight seconds to get the ball up the court to tie or go for the win. Unfortunately, they were unable to get a shot off, as the Wildcats defense forced the Owls into too many passes before the clock expired. That allowed Penn College to sneak away with the 64-62 win on the afternoon.
Bryn Mawr ultimately outshot the Wildcats on the day by a 35% to 29% margin, and they did so while taking almost as many shots as them as well. The visitors were able to make up too much ground from beyond the arc and the free throw line, though. The Wildcats shot almost 10% better from beyond the arc than the Owls, and they earned an overwhelming 35 attempts at the free throw line. A season-high in fouls from the Owls thanks to the hard-driving efforts of the Penn College guards meant the visitors put in seven more free throws on the day, allowing the Wildcats to hang on to their slim two-point margin at the end.
Despite the tough result, today's performance was another in a line of very strong play recently from Bryn Mawr. The Owls put together some good momentum to close out their semester, and they'll look to carry that over when they get back in action in January. First game up for Bryn Mawr in 2019 will be a road trip to Dickinson on Saturday, January 5th, with game time set for 1:00 PM in Carlisle.