COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's basketball team used an early burst of energy to cruise past Immaculata on Tuesday afternoon, 75-50.
The Bears (6-5) battled the Mighty Macs (2-8) in a back-and-forth first quarter, as both teams came out firing. Ursinus scored the opening basket on a jumper from freshman Maya Kornfeld before junior Kaci McNeave recorded a steal and hit senior Rachel Guy on a fast break for an easy lay-in, putting the Bears up 4-2.
Guy shot 3-of-4 from the field in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer to lead the squad with seven points through the first 10 minutes, but the Mighty Macs kept it close, leaving the Bears clinging to a 19-17 lead.
Whatever coach Margaret White said during the break sparked a fire for the Bears, as they erupted a 9-0 run to open the second quarter, including a pair of lay-ins from sophomore Lydia Konstanzer. Freshman Aliyah Stephens checked in during the quarter and made an impact immediately, sinking an open look from beyond the arc thanks to a dish from Kornfeld.
The highlight play of the quarter came from senior Liana Weishaar, who kicked off the scoring surge with a nifty reverse layup that seemed to hang on top of the rim before falling through the strings.
The Bears shot 46.9 percent from the field through the first 20 minutes, powering to a 41-25 lead at the halfway point.
The defense also hit another gear during the frame, as they forced the Mighty Macs to shoot just 17.6 percent from the field during the second quarter, including 0-for-7 from 3-point land.
Following halftime, the tide couldn't be stopped for the Bears, as they were firing on all cylinders.
The defense was just as good, as the Mighty Macs couldn't find many open looks throughout the rest of the game, shooting just 5-for-25 in the second half, and finished 11-for-51 after starting 4-for-6 from the field.
Guy continued her outside shooting with a 3-pointer early in the third before freshman Sydney Fail entered and hit a 3-pointer, following it up with a layup less than a minute later. Kornfeld kept the defensive level high, blocking a shot after hustling back to prevent a fast-break basket. The Bears built a 59-38 lead to close out the third quarter.
Every Bear who dressed entered the game and all but one scored. McNeave did not dent the scoreboard, but made her presence felt with four steals and four assists to match Morano for the team lead.
Freshman Alexis Hnatkowsky drilled a 3-pointer less than a minute into the fourth quarter thanks to a pass from sophomore Francesca Bogiatzis before Stephens reentered and created her own big play. She swatted the ball away from a Mighty Macs player, picking up the steal and rumbling toward the basket, before fighting through a foul to sink a layup to pull the lead to 64-40. Just over two minutes later, it was déjà vu for Stephens, as she powered to the rack through contact to sink another basket. She'd complete the three-point play by hitting her free throw, putting the Bears up 66-43.
Freshman Elizabeth Burke showed off her outside range from off the bench, as she sank a pair of 3-pointers within 1:45 of each other, making it a 73-44 ballgame. Burke's classmate Katherine Eckhoff recorded her first career basket, hitting a jumper to cap the contest. Burke's six points were a season best.
The Bears' 75 points and 20 assists were the most in a single since an 84-19 of Bryn Mawr on Jan. 29, 2015. The team's eight 3-pointers were the most since hitting 10 against Immaculata almost four years ago to the day. Guy, Stephens and Burke each hit two, as the team finished 50 percent on the day from beyond the arc.
Stephens scored a team-high 13 points and added five rebounds in just nine minutes on the floor, while Konstanzer and Guy each tallied 12 points. Konstanzer came up one board short of a double-double and added three assists.
Fail hit her second 3-pointer of the season en route to five points as freshman Marisa Morano chipped in six rebounds and four assists.
Ursinus is off until the new year, when it opens 2018 with a trip to Johns Hopkins on Jan. 6.