ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr basketball team closed out their 2019-20 campaign earlier Wednesday evening with a trip up to Muhlenberg. The Owls put together a solid showing in their season finale led by Brendan Harrison. The senior guard matched her second-most points of the season thanks to an impressive shooting performance from beyond the arc. Fellow senior Odinaka Oranekwu controlled the glass, pulling down 11 rebounds in the contest, closing the year with her best performance of the season in that category. Overall, the Owls held Muhlenberg to just 63 points, their second-fewest points scored against Bryn Mawr since 2008. However, it was still enough for the hosts to claim the win in 63-35 fashion.
The Owls got off to a bit of a slow start in tonight's game, as the Mules ran out to an 11-0 lead early on. A free throw from Emma Garner finally got Bryn Mawr on the board, and then the first-year guard made a nice drive into the lane for a layup and two more points. Sydney Collins added two more free throws on Bryn Mawr's next possession to get the deficit back down to eight. However, the Mules would go on another 12-0 run to take a 25-5 advantage through the first minute of the second period.
That second quarter was still arguably the best frame of the night for the Owls, and Harrison got things going with a three off of an assist from classmate Halena Martin. After a miss by Martin on the next possession, fellow senior Meagan Murray-Bruce went up strong for a rebound and stuck the putback for her first basket of the night. Harrison knocked down another triple a little over a minute later, and then Laya Paladugu got in on the action with a jumper of her own. Muhlenberg struggled to knock down their own shots consistently, but the large volume of chances they got helped the hosts ease their lead up to 19 late in the quarter. However, a layup for Collins on an assist by Martin and a follow-up basket from Martin herself helped Bryn Mawr close the gap to 34-19 at the half.
Bryn Mawr continued to keep things close in the third, holding Muhlenberg to just 12 points in the quarter. Collins opened the Owls' scoring with a strong layup through contact and then sank the ensuing free throw for a three-point play. Harrison canned her third three-pointer of the night midway through the quarter to get the Owls back within 14. Late in the period, Murray-Bruce used another strong offensive rebound to get a second putback layup for Bryn Mawr. In the fourth, Oranekwu repeated that same sequence, grabbing an offensive board and putting in a layup of her own for what would be her final career basket. Murray-Bruce followed with the final bucket of her career a few minutes later, and Lipi Paladugu added a layup of her own a few minutes later. Fittingly, it would be Halena Martin who capped off the scoring for the Owls, knocking down two free throws to get Bryn Mawr to 35 points. That would be the end of the line for the Owls, as Muhlenberg used a strong bench performance, including a game-high 15 points from Sara Peretti, to take the 63-35 win.
There was also a special moment prior to tonight's game, as Odinaka Oranekwu earned Muhlenberg's Aril Bryant Award. Named for Bryant, a Mule point guard from the Class of 2005 who passed away from breast cancer in 2013, the award is given to a member of each team for "service beyond self", particularly involvement in community service. Oranekwu has helped raise $600 worth of school supplies for a local charter school in Philadephia through her self-founded club AJOYO, and she has also worked with an international organization to donate women's healthcare materials to a community in Ghana.
With today's result, the Owls close out their '19-'20 campaign and say goodbye to their four seniors. Harrison, Martin, Murray-Bruce, and Oranekwu have all been tremendous contributors to the culture and foundation of the Owls basketball squad, and they will certainly be missed. However, the Owls got some great performances from the rest of the squad this season as well, foretelling a bright future for the team as they work hard to keep developing and building towards next season.