Rookie Goes Wild as Women's Basketball Downs Alvernia in Opener

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Gabby Downs treated the Helfferich Hall faithful to a record-breaking shooting display in her collegiate debut to lead the Ursinus College women's basketball team to an 80-28 rout of Alvernia in its season opener on Saturday night.

Downs was on fire from the opening tip on the way to pouring in 31 points and outscoring the entire Golden Wolves team by herself. The rookie was 10-of-16 from the floor and set a program record with eight 3-pointers in just 12 attempts before sitting out the fourth quarter with the result well in hand.

Downs' long-range barrage landed her one shy of the Centennial Conference record for 3's in a game, accomplished most recently in 2008.

The freshman phenom was the star of the show but had plenty of help as the Bears posted their highest point total – and largest margin of victory – since an 84-19 rout of Bryn Mawr in 2015. Sophomore Aliyah Stephens made five of her seven field-goal attempts to finish with 13 points, while classmates Maya Kornfeld (nine points, seven assists) and Marisa Morano (six assists, six steals) combined for 13 assists.

Downs made her presence felt right away, banging in two triples as part of a 16-0 burst to open the game. The Golden Wolves didn't get on the board until the 3:55 mark of the first quarter, and Downs added another trey before the quarter ended with the Bears on top, 26-7.

Alvernia scored the first points of the second quarter before Downs went off, scoring nine consecutive points in a personal run that included a four-point play and a 3-pointer on back-to-back trips. Sorokanych hit two free throws and added a put-back at the halftime buzzer as Ursinus took a 46-16 advantage with it into the halftime break.

The Bears continued to pile on in the second half as every healthy player saw court time. Junior Francesca Bogiatzis had four points, with senior Brielle Clarke, sophomore Elizabeth Burke, and freshman Molly Duncan posting two apiece. Sophomore Katherine Eckhoff pulled down four rebounds.

The Bears shot 45.8 percent from the floor and were 45 percent from 3-point distance while going 17-for-22 from the line (77.3 percent). They owned a 41-29 advantage on the glass, including nine offensive rebounds, and forced 26 turnovers. Ursinus tallied more assists (19) than turnovers (14) and racked up 15 steals, with Stephens chipping in three in addition to Morano's half-dozen.

Junior Lydia Konstanzer wound up with nine points and seven rebounds, while freshman Maddy Sorokanych posted six points, seven boards, and a pair of blocks in her own promising debut.

The Bears return to action next weekend, when they head to Marymount (Va.) to take on Vassar in the opener of a tournament hosted by the Saints.