BRYN ATHYN, Pa. - Bryn Mawr took to the court earlier Wednesday night, as the Owls faced off against Bryn Athyn in another non-conference test. It was a tough start for Bryn Mawr on the night, as they spotted the Lions a big lead early. However, the Owls put together a strong comeback effort over the rest of the game, cutting their deficit to single digits late. Unfortunately, it would be too little, too late, as Bryn Athyn managed to hang on for a 56-45 win at the end of the night. Laya Paladugu led the Owls with 12 points, but Meagan Murray-Bruce was the star of the night for Bryn Mawr. The senior tallied her third career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in her first game action since February of 2018.
Bryn Mawr earned a very early lead thanks to an opening basket from Sydney Collins to put the Owls up 2-1 in the first minute of play. From there, Bryn Athyn immediately turned on the pressure, scoring the next four baskets. By the time the first quarter ended, the hosts had built a 27-11 advantage. Bryn Mawr's defense did a much better job of buckling down in the second quarter, holding the Lions to just eight points in the frame. However, Bryn Mawr's offense had an equally difficult time finding the bottom of the basket themselves. Laya Paladugu scored a bucket early in the frame, and then Halena Martin took over, knocking down three jumpers of her own. The teams combined to shoot just 7-for-27 in the quarter, helping the Lions maintain their 16-point advantage heading into the halftime break.
After halftime, the Lions initially went right back to work on the offensive side, ultimately building a lead as high as 40-20. However, the Owls and their coaching staff did a fantastic job adjusting the gameplan in the second half, as Bryn Mawr started to work the ball inside more in an effort to take advantage of a mismatch in the post. Both Murray-Bruce and Collins held major length advantages over any defender Bryn Athyn could throw at them, and that started to lead to easy buckets for the Owls. Brendan Harrison and Lipi Paladugu got the scoring started with a few smooth jumpers, and then Murray-Bruce took over. The senior center made a strong move to the basket and finished through contact, drawing a foul for the "and-one". On the next trip down the floor, the Owls worked the ball down low to Murray-Bruce again, and she again earned a trip to the free throw line. Later, she would add another free throw, and then Harrison capped off the third quarter with another mid-range jumper from the baseline to draw Bryn Mawr back within 11 with a quarter to play.
Murray-Bruce immediately went back to work in the fourth quarter, using strong work early to gain great positioning on her defender for an easy layup to make it a single digit contest just 30 seconds into the final frame. The two teams traded baskets over the next few minutes before Bryn Athyn eventually put a small run together to go up 49-36. However, there was still plenty of fight left in the Owls, as Sydney Collins took a turn asserting her presence in the post. The first-year center completed an old fashioned three-point play of her own to get Bryn Mawr back within ten with five minutes to play. With Bryn Athyn shifting their defense to help inside, that opened things up for Paladugu in the mid-range. The junior guard nailed back-to-back jumpers and then sank a free throw a little later that brought Bryn Mawr within seven with just under two minutes to play. Unfortunately for the Owls, that would be as close as they could get it - Bryn Athyn hung on at the end, hitting their free throws and ultimately sneaking away with a hard-fought 56-45 win.
Despite the final result, the comeback effort is certainly something the Owls will look to build on when they get back in action on Saturday. Bryn Mawr will open up conference play on the road this weekend with a trip down to Johns Hopkins. Gametime in Baltimore on Saturday is set for 1:00 PM.