WESTMINSTER, Md. – A dominant fourth quarter by the Ursinus College women's basketball team allowed the Bears to erase a 15-point deficit in the second half and sneak by McDaniel, 55-53, in a tough road Centennial Conference contest.
It wasn't easy or pretty, but the Bears made just enough plays to move closer to securing the fourth seed in the upcoming conference tournament. Ursinus (15-8, 12-6) limped through the first half and part of the third quarter as shots were not falling and McDaniel owned the glass. The Green Terror kept the Bears at a distance and even pushed its largest lead to 35-20 with 7:26 left in the third quarter. From there, the Bears chipped away at a deficit that looked difficult to overcome with timely made shots and defensive stops.
Ursinus gained a bit of steam as it outscored McDaniel, 17-14, in the third quarter. Momentum eventually swung in a big way for the Bears, who grabbed their first lead of the game on the strength of a dominant fourth quarter. McDaniel (12-12, 7-12) couldn't keep up its energetic full-court pressure and stingy half-court defense that gave the Bears fits early on.
Ursinus started the fourth quarter on a 15-4 flurry. A focal point in the game-changing frame was junior Lydia Konstanzer, who scored eight of her 13 points in the period and came up big defensively. A tough finish and a pair of free throws by the junior had the Bears within two points (46-44) at the 6:40 mark of the fourth quarter.
Freshman Gabby Downs, who added 10 points, made a pair of free throws to knot the game at 46 with over five and a half minutes to go. It was the first tie of the game since 0-0. Konstanzer then finished around the hoop to give the Bears their first lead of the game, 48-46, at the 4:41 mark.
A loose-ball steal led to an easy layup by sophomore Maya Kornfeld to make it a two-possession game. With Ursinus up 52-48 with over three minutes left, McDaniel's Caroline Ward hit a 3-pointer to get the Green Terror within a point.
Sophomore Aliyah Stephens put back her own miss to give the Bears a three-point lead before Jamese Word's layup got the Green Terror back within one with 28 seconds left. Stephens paired 16 points with eight rebounds to lead the Bears in both categories.
The Green Terror were forced to foul, but the Bears struggled to close it out from the line as five consecutive misses left the door open for multiple Green Terror opportunities.
In one of the biggest plays of the game, Konstanzer forced a tie up as she stuffed Liv Storer driving toward the basket. Konstanzer's smart play gave the Bears possession. Downs made a freebie to put a close to five straight misses from the stripe. Down 55-53 with 10 seconds remaining, the Green Terror had a chance to win or tie, but tight defense forced Storer into a tough jump shot that was way off the mark as the buzzer sounded.
Early on, made shots were difficult to come by in the first half of play with the Bears shooting 28 percent and the Green Terror at 31.3 percent. Long stretches of scoreless basketball plagued the Bears.
Downs' long corner jumper got the Bears on the board after the Green Terror scored the first four points. Ursinus was held until Stephens drove to the hoop with 3:51 remaining in the first.
McDaniel edged Ursinus, 15-9, after the first quarter as the Bears struggled from the field and committed five turnovers.
The Green Terror put back a deep miss to take a 10-point lead at 23-13 with over five minutes left in the half. Ending another Ursinus scoreless drought, Konstanzer made a freebie with four minutes left to end a five-minute span without a point. McDaniel took a 30-18 lead at intermission.
The Bears' win over McDaniel marked the first regular-season sweep of the Green Terror since the introduction of the 20-game Centennial Conference schedule.
Anna Mondoro led the Green Terror with 13 points and eight rebounds. Storer was the other starter in double figures with 10 points and five rebounds. Off the bench, Ward added 12 points.
Ursinus went 18-of-51 (35.3%) from the field, 2-of-15 (13.3%) from 3-point territory, and 17-of-28 (60.7%) from the free throw line.
McDaniel shot 19-of-65 (29.2%) overall and 11-of-11 from charity stripe, but the Bears held the hosts to a paltry 4-of-26 (15.4%) from beyond the arc. The Green Terror outrebounded the Bears, 47-37.
Ursinus hosts its Senior Day home finale against Muhlenberg on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Bears will recognize seniors Brielle Clarke and Kaci McNeave before the game, which could determine the number four seed in the CC playoffs.