Owls Give Diplomats Big Test in Final Road Game of Season

Halena Martin lines up a shot against Swarthmore in the fall of 2018

LANCASTER, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr basketball team was back in action on Saturday afternoon, as the Owls played their final road game of the season at Franklin & Marshall. It was a tight game early as both sides battled hard, with Bryn Mawr giving the Diplomats quite the challenge. Ultimately, however, the hosts were able to take a hold on the lead and never look back, with Franklin & Marshall ultimately coming away with a 65-41 win. Halena Martin led the Owls with 12 points off the bench, while Sydney Garner added nine more. Franklin & Marshall got a huge performance out of Haley Pilone, who poured in 25 points, including seven three-pointers, to help lead the Diplomats to victory.

The Owls got off to a fast start, with a strong defensive possession leading to a layup for Garner on a nice assist by Elizabeth Chan. Franklin & Marshall responded with a 9-0 run on three straight three-pointers, but Garner put home another layup to keep the Owls within striking distance. Another run from the hosts forced a quick timeout by Bryn Mawr head coach Becky Tyler, who drew up a good play to get Martin an easy jumper out of the break. Unfortunately, the Owls just couldn't string any baskets together, as Franklin & Marshall continued to score and get stops. Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson earned a trip to the free throw line, where she sank both freebies, and then Laya Paladugu closed the first quarter with a buzzer-beating layup, and that helped draw Bryn Mawr back to a 12-23 margin.

The Diplomats' hot shooting continued early in the second quarter, as two of their first three baskets in the frame were three-pointers. Martin knocked down two free throws of her own in response, and then Chan and Lipi Paladugu each sank a pair as well. The Owls' defense also stepped up over the rest of the frame, as Bryn Mawr didn't allow another made basket after those first three in the opening four minutes of the quarter. Bryn Mawr also forced four turnovers in the frame while only giving up possession three times themselves. Unfortunately, Bryn Mawr was not able to take advantage of that great defensive play, as the Owls went 0-for-11 from the floor in the frame, allowing the Diplomats to take a 35-18 lead to the break at the half.

Bryn Mawr's great defense and ball control continued in the third quarter, as they again committed fewer turnovers in the period than their opponents. They also held F&M to just 33% shooting in the quarter. Meanwhile, the Owls worked at chipping away on the offensive end. Garner got the scoring started with a free throw, and then Elizabeth-Robertson followed with a layup on an assist by Garner. The Owls' strong junior center then knocked down a jump shot. Elizabeth Chan followed that with a great individual run of play, as she blocked a shot on the defensive end, pulled down the rebound, and then hit a jumper on the other side of the court to get Bryn Mawr within 15. The teams would trade baskets over the middle of the quarter, but then Franklin & Marshall managed to string some stops together of their own and ultimately take a 21-point advantage into the final frame.

A jumper by Martin opened the scoring for the Owls, after neither side found the bottom of the basket in the opening 3:09 of play. She hit another jumper the next time down the floor, and then after another defensive stop, Lipi Paladugu knocked down a jumper of her own. Martin and Paladugu each hit another basket over the remainder of the quarter, and then Garner closed out Bryn Mawr's scoring with another jump shot in the final minutes. Ultimately, Franklin & Marshall did just enough in the second half to keep the Owls at bay, and the hosts were able to protect their home court with the 65-41 win.

Bryn Mawr will return home next week to close out their 2018-19 season with two final contests. First, the Owls will welcome Washington College on Wednesday at 7:00 PM for Bryn Mawr's annual "Owls Fight For A Cure" game. Then, on Saturday the 16th, the Owls will celebrate senior day as they welcome Centennial Conference leaders Gettysburg to campus for a 2:00 PM tilt.