CARLISLE, Pa. – Taking control early and taking great care of the ball, the Ursinus College women's basketball team kept its Centennial Conference playoff hopes alive and well with a 58-48 victory at Dickinson on Saturday.
Sophomore Lydia Konstanzer finished with game highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds and freshman Aliyah Stephens added 16 points and eight boards for the Bears (13-11, 10-9), who led wire to wire to spoil Dickinson's Senior Day and win for the eighth time in nine trips to the Kline Center. Those two combined to score all of Ursinus' points during a 17-2 spurt to close the opening period, giving the visitors a stranglehold they would never relinquish.
With the victory, Ursinus completed a season sweep of the Red Devils and remained a half-game behind McDaniel (10-8 CC) for the fifth and final playoff spot. The Bears can clinch a postseason berth with a win over first-place Gettysburg on Saturday combined with one loss by the Green Terror, who close with road games against the top two teams in the CC in the Bullets and Muhlenberg. If the Bears lose to Gettysburg, they would need Dickinson to win its two remaining games to force a three-way tie at 10-10, which Ursinus would claim by virtue of its 3-1 record in common games with McDaniel and the Red Devils.
The teams were deadlocked at 4-all in the early going before two Konstanzer free throws ignited a massive run from which the Red Devils were never able to recover. Two free throws by Dickinson's Hannah Heiring stopped a personal 6-0 spurt from Konstanzer, but Stevens slashed inside for a bucket, drained a 3, and finished a fast-break bucket off a steal by rookie running mate Maya Kornfeld for a 17-6 advantage. A jumper and two more foul shots by Konstanzer pushed the lead out to 15 at the end of the quarter.
Ursinus shot 50.0 percent from the floor and forced nine Red Devil turnovers in the first quarter.
Dickinson (8-15, 8-10) still trailed by 12 midway through the second, but pulled within five on a triple by Lizzie Becker and were within 31-25 at halftime. The home side got as close as three (32-29) before Kornfeld doubled the spread with a three-point play, and the margin stayed there until the end of the period.
Freshman Marisa Morano gave Ursinus an eight-point lead (44-36) with a layup to open the fourth, and Konstanzer sandwiched consecutive jumpers around a Dickinson basket to open up a double-digit lead again with 7:44 to go. The Red Devils trimmed it to 52-46 on Heiring's 3, but Konstanzer always had the answer, twice scoring inside after the Red and White had closed to within six again.
Konstanzer finished 8 of 15 from the field and 7 for 10 at the line in posting her sixth straight double-double and her eighth in the last nine games. The CC's steal leader also added three swipes.
Stephens was active all over the floor, pulling down eight boards and blocking four shots to go with three assists. She scored in double figures for the fifth straight game.
Kassidy Lesher had 12 points and 15 rebounds to lead Dickinson, but the Bears held the Red Devils to 31.3-percent shooting (15 for 48) and forced 19 turnovers to offset a 44-34 rebounding deficiency.
The Bears now have a week until Saturday's Senior Day matchup. In the meantime, Ursinus will be watching as McDaniel heads to Gettysburg on Wednesday. A Bullet victory there would leave the Bears and Green Terror tied at 10-9 heading into the last day of the regular season.