GWYNNED VALLEY, Pa. - The Ursinus College women's basketball team (0-2) hung close with No. 3 Scranton on Friday night but it was the Royals who pulled away in the final frame, edging the Bears 75-64 in the opener of the Gwynedd Mercy Tip-Off Tournament.
The third-ranked Royals came into Friday's game having made it to the Final Four last year while accumulating a record of 134-15 over the last five years. Despite the Royals' success, the Bears gave them all they could handle before Scranton pulled away late in the final frame.
A defensive battle at the jump, both teams struggled for baskets, starting a combined 0-for-5 from the floor. Scranton got on the board first with a lay-up before Lydia Konstanzer answered right away with a lay-in of her own. A Konstanzer jumper gave the Bears a 5-4 lead in the opening frame, but a 5-0 run from the Royals put Scranton ahead. Ursinus headed into the second quarter trailing by four, 11-7.
While points were hard to come by in the opening frame, that was not the case in the second quarter as both teams combined for 40 points. The Bears matched the third-ranked Royals basket for basket and even took their second lead of the game with a trey from Gabby Downs that made it 19-18. The Royals came back with a three of their own to re-take the lead and then a Konstanzer lay-up tied the game at 21 apiece. After a Maya Kornfield jumper, the Bears trailed by just two points with 18 seconds remaining, but with two ticks on the clock, the Royals found netting on a lay-up at the other end as Ursinus went into the half down by four, 31-27.
The Royals tried to put some distance in the scoreboard in the second half, but the Bears wouldn't go away. Scranton led by as much as 10 in the third quarter, but a 6-0 run headed by Aliyah Stephens brought Ursinus back within four going into the final frame, 51-47.
The Bears kept that momentum going early in the fourth. A Downs three-pointer brought Ursinus within one and then with a chance to take the lead and hoping to continue the magic from beyond the arc, the sophomore missed the second time and the Royals went on a run. A 6-0 scoring surge from Scranton put the Royals up by seven as they went on to take the game 75-64.
Konstanzer led the Bears with 19 points while it was Stephens who had a team-high eight rebounds.
The Bears will be back in action on Saturday when they play Pitt-Bradford in the consolation game at 12 p.m.