COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's basketball team used a quarter-long blitz to dominate Swarthmore, 79-53, in a Centennial Conference rout on Tuesday night.
Freshman Maya Kornfeld poured in a career-high 18 rebounds and added a game-high five assists as the Bears (12-11, 9-9) won their third straight and pulled into a tie with McDaniel for the fifth and final playoff spot.
Isabelle Ewart gave the Garnet (3-18, 1-15) a brief lead on a 3-pointer just over a minute into the contest, but it was all Ursinus from there. The Bears overwhelmed the visitors with a stunning deluge that didn't end until they led 30-3 in the first minute of the second stanza. The 28-0 run featured a bevy of fast-break points as Ursinus took full advantage of 12 Garnet turnovers in a scoreless drought that lasted just a few seconds shy of ten full minutes.
Sophomore Lydia Konstanzer gave Ursinus the lead for good on a bucket inside, and Kornfeld forced an early timeout on a transition score that made it 8-3 with 6:39 left in the first. Kornfeld had two more baskets in a run of nine unanswered points, which forced a second Swarthmore timeout less than three minutes later.
Five different Bears scored over the remainder of the opening period, with freshmen Sydney Fail and Marisa Morano sandwiching a pair of free throws around a jumper by fellow first-year Alexis Hnatkowsky. Junior Kaci McNeave's triple extended the advantage, and junior Brielle Clarke's deep jumper put Ursinus on top 28-3 after a whirlwind first ten minutes.
The Bears forced a dozen turnovers in the opening frame and turned them into 20 points, a staggering number for a single quarter. Ursinus' 28 markers were its most since women's basketball went to the quarter format for the 2015-16 campaign.
Unlike last year's Super Bowl, there was to be no monumental rally from a 28-3 defict. Fail's jumper polished off the extended 28-0 run before Ewart finally stopped it with a basket at the 9:04 mark of the second quarter. Ursinus led by as many as 40 points late in the third quarter before calling off the dogs.
The Bears, always a stout defensive side, were stifling against an overmatched Garnet squad. Swarthmore shot 32.7 percent for the night, including just 5 for 25 (20 percent) in the first half, and coughed up 29 turnovers. Morano tallied a career-high five steals, with Konstanzer (3), freshman Aliyah Stephens (2), Hnatkowsky (2), and senior Liana Weishaar (2) also adding multiple steals.
Ursinus was equally dominant on the offensive end, where they shot 29 for 53 (54.7 percent) over the first three quarters and 49.2 percent for the night. A dozen players got into the scoring column, and three reached double figures in the team's highest-scoring output since an 80-74 win at F&M in February of 2015.
Kornfeld's 18 points came on just 12 shots – she made eight of them – and she produced four rebounds in addition to her five assists. Stephens scored 12 points and had three blocks, while Konstanzer made it five double-doubles in a row – and 20 for her career – with 10 points and 10 boards in a rout-shortened 17 minutes.
Fail marked a new career high with nine points, and McNeave totaled eight with a pair of 3-pointers. Clarke made all three of her shots and posted a season-best seven points, while rookies Elizabeth Burke and Katherine Eckhoff each buried fourth-quarter treys.
The Bears dished out 17 assists to just 13 turnovers, with Hnatkowsky collecting three and Fail and McNeave adding two each.
The women's basketball team now braces for a huge game at Dickinson on Saturday. At 8-9, the Red Devils are in the mix with McDaniel and the Bears for the last CC playoff berth.