COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Ursinus College women's basketball went blow for blow with red-hot Gettysburg on Thursday night, but a cold spell towards the end of the first half left the Bears with too much of a hill to climb in a 68-59 Centennial Conference defeat.
Gettysburg, ranked 16th by the WBCA and 19th by D3hoops.com, extended its CC-record winning streak to 19 games and remained unbeaten since a loss to Messiah in its season opener. The Bullets (19-1, 15-0) stayed perfect in the conference and maintained their one-game edge on Haverford for the top seed in the league playoffs.
Lydia Konstanzer stretched her double-double run to five straight games with 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears (7-14, 6-10), while Aliyah Stephens came up with 16 points and six boards. Marisa Morano had 11 points and Alyssa Martin finished with eight in her second consecutive start.
The first half was one of runs. The Bears scored the first four points of the night, beginning with a basket through a foul by Stephens, before Gettysburg answered with a 7-0 run. The Bullets went ahead 18-11 on Ashley Gehrin's driving lay-up with 1:49 to go in the first quarter, only for Ursinus to rattle off eight in a row to close the frame. Stephens got a 3 to bounce around the rim and drop and then cashed in on a three-point play to cut the margin to one, and Morano knocked down two at the line after being fouled on a defensive rebound to put the Bears ahead by one heading into the second.
Whatever momentum the home side had dissipated quickly in the next quarter, which began with a 7-0 run by Gettysburg. The Bears had trouble getting good looks and scored only five points in the frame, eventually finding themselves in a double-digit hole, 34-24, after Avery Bennett drained a baseline jumper in the final minute of the half.
The Bears quickly sliced the deficit in half with an early blitz in the third, pulling within 36-31 on a 3-pointer by Francesca Bogiatzis, the first of her career. The spread continued to oscillate between five and nine for most of the quarter until Christina Richson stole a pass and fed ahead to Gehrin for a breakaway basket that made it 50-39 with 2:55 on the clock.
Gettysburg continued to extend the advantage with a variety of cuts and screens, and a 3 by Yantsos on the first possession of the fourth quarter from straight on pushed the margin out to 57-41.
The lead expanded to 19 (61-42) before Ursinus made one last push, with Martin finding Konstanzer for back-to-back buckets before Morano stepped in front of a pass and streaked the other way for a lay-in to cut it to 13. A jumper by Brown trimmed it to 11, and Morano splashed a left-wing 3 off a transition dish from Konstanzer to get within 65-55 with 1:21 remaining.
Martin was fouled beyond the arc and made all three free throws to pull the Bears within single digits at 66-58 with 25.3 seconds remaining, but Gehrin hit two at the other end to put the game away for good.
Gettysburg shot 45.8 percent from the field and held the Bears to just 34.8 percent. The Bullets finished with a 42-26 edge in points in the paint, mostly from a series of baskets on back screens and cuts. Gehrin led the Orange and Blue with 16 points, with Yantsos adding 14 and Kiera Cesareo 11.
Morano plugged the box score with five assists, four rebounds, and three steals.
Margrett Brown provided a highlight midway through the third, using a nice drop step and banking in a left-handed lay-in over her sister Meredith, a starter for the Bullets. Brown made both of her field-goal attempts and collected three rebounds.
The women's basketball team takes on Dickinson on the road on Saturday.