COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – A dominant fourth quarter by Johns Hopkins elevated the Blue Jays past the Ursinus College women's basketball team, 71-59, in a clash between two of the Centennial's best at Helfferich Hall.
The Bears (9-5, 6-3) led by as many as 14 points in the second quarter and never trailed until the Blue Jays went in front for the first time at the 6:35 mark of the final frame. Johns Hopkins (12-2, 8-1) closed out the game by owning the all-important fourth quarter, outscoring the Bears by a 26-8 margin. The Blue Jays shot a red-hot 7-of-10 from the field and shut down the hosts to an ice-cold 1-of-12.
The day was not without a major bright spot for the Bears. Junior Lydia Konstanzer hit the 1,000-point mark for her career with a jump shot in the third quarter, becoming the 15th Ursinus woman to do so. Konstanzer finished with 10 points, exactly the amount she needed for the milestone. Konstanzer joined her sister, Carolyn, who scored her 1,000th point for the Bears in 2014.
Ursinus saw its winning streaks in conference (6 games), at home (4), and overall (3) come to an end with a disappointing finishing stretch. But for the first quarter and a half, it looked like the home side might run away with it. The Bears hit their first four shots from the floor and kept up the hot shooting for the first quarter, going 9-of-13 (69.2%) with the Blue Jays not too far behind at 7-of-12.
Sophomore Aliyah Stephens fueled the first-quarter onslaught with a 13-point perfect shooting display, connecting on all four of her shots from the field and four of her free-throw attempts. The multi-purpose guard converted two tough three-point plays in the paint to ignite the explosive 25-17 first frame.
The Blue Jays focused in on Stephens, shutting her down for the rest of the game. She finished with 16 points, but was held to just three in the final three quarters.
Ursinus extended its lead to as many 14 points (32-18) after a 7-1 run to open the second quarter with under seven minutes until halftime. Freshman Gabby Downs nailed a 3-pointer to make it 28-17 and extend a remarkable hot streak that gave her nine consecutive makes from downtown over the last three games. Sophomore Maya Kornfeld swished a mid-range jumper and Stephens drained two free throws to give the hosts a 32-18 bulge with 6:55 remaining in the first half. But the shots did not continue to fall like they did in the first quarter.
Johns Hopkins pushed the tempo down the court in the second stanza, allowing the Blue Jays to close on a 15-4 spurt to get within three points (36-33) at halftime.
Kornfeld kept the Blue Jays' defense on their toes with three dribble-drive finishes in the third quarter, the last a quick drive down the right side for a lay-up that beat the buzzer and put Ursinus ahead 51-45 entering the final period. Kornfeld finished with 16 points, ten coming after halftime.
Lillian Scott led the Blue Jays with a game-high 23 points with four makes from downtown. With under eight minutes to go, Scott evened the score 51-51 with a pair of free throws.
Kornfeld then made a long corner jumper, which stood as the Bears' only made field goal in the last frame, to get the Bears up 53-51.
Lexie Scholtz hit a pull-up shot then Diarra Oden made a tough bucket at the rim to give the Blue Jays their first lead of the afternoon. Johns Hopkins pulled away behind back-to-back threes from Madison McGrath and Scholtz to push its lead to eight points. The Blue Jays used the perimeter shot to their advantage, making nine threes overall.
Rory Cole hauled in 13 rebounds for Johns Hopkins. McGrath and Scholtz chipped in 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Ursinus shot 20-of-46 (43.5%) overall, 2-of-7 (28.6%) from three and 17-of-22 (77.3%) from the line. Johns Hopkins shot 24-of-53 (45.3%), 9-of-25 (36%) from beyond the arc and 14-of-19 (73.7%) from the charity stripe.
The Bears look to bounce back when they take on Franklin & Marshall on the road Wednesday at 7 p.m.