SWARTHMORE, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's basketball team's full-court defensive pressure was too much for Swarthmore to handle as the Bears caused 27 total turnovers in a 71-57 road victory over the Garnet.
Ursinus (3-3, 1-2) cranked up the heat in the third quarter, allowing the Bears to pull away on their way to their first Centennial Conference win of the young season. In doing so, the Bears extended their winning streak to seven games over the Garnet and are now winners of 10 of the last 11 meetings between the schools.
Leading 35-26 at halftime, the Bears went on to outscore the Garnet 18-7 overall in the third quarter thanks to a 10-0 run in frame. The Garnet couldn't break free of the tenacious Bear defense as they were held scoreless for a stretch of almost five minutes. Much of the success coming from causing Swarthmore into 12 turnovers and 2-of-12 shooting in the quarter. At one point, the Bears stole the ball away in the back court on three straight Swarthmore possessions.
Ursinus pushed its lead to 55-33 early in the fourth before Swarthmore nibbled at the lead by going on a 11-0 run to cut the lead in half (55-44). The Bears held off the Garnet even though they outscored the Bears 24-18 in the final quarter.
Junior Lydia Konstanzer led a balanced scoring attack with a strong paint presence for the Bears. Konstanzer was a rebound shy of a double-double with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting.
Several sophomore Bears did a little bit of everything. Sophomore floor general Maya Kornfeld scored 14 points, gathered in seven rebounds, handed out a team-high five assists, and plucked away three steals. Kornfeld's ability to attack Swarthmore's defense led to eight of her 14 points coming from the free-throw line.
Sophomore Aliyah Stephens one-upped Kornfeld with four steals on the night. Stephens also chipped in eight points, six rebounds, and two assists. Classmate Marisa Morano added nine points with eight rebounds and a pair of steals and assists.
Sharp-shooting freshman Gabby Downs scored 12 points. She hit all four of the Bears' 3-pointers, with three coming in the first half.
For Swarthmore, Abigail Pirron (13 points) and Audra Woodside (11 points) had double-figure games with seven and six rebounds, respectively. On defense, the Garnet forced the Bears to commit 17 turnovers.
The Bears and the Garnet (1-5, 0-3) were locked into a fast-paced, back-and-forth first quarter of action which set the tone for the game. The Bears held a 17-15 lead after the first 10 minutes.
Ursinus created some separation in the second quarter, outscoring the Garnet, 18-11, to go into halftime up 35-26.
Downs made two 3-pointers in the second quarter, one midway through the period to give the Bears an eight-point lead at 28-20. The other triple from the rookie came at the 3:36 mark (31-22).
Junior Toni Suler's entry bounce pass to Konstanzer, who had position under the net, allowed Konstanzer to make the easy basket underneath to push the lead to 11 points at 35-24.
In the crucial third quarter, Ursinus did what it needed to turn the Garnet over. The Bears were able to score eight points at the charity stripe in order to push their lead to 20 points at 53-33.
Ursinus fended off a mini-charge from Swarthmore in the final frame as they tried their hand at successful full-court pressing. Konstanzer broke the scoreless stretch after taking a beautiful feed from Kornfeld over the top of the defense. The forward shielded and got behind defender for the old fashioned three-point play to put the Bears up 58-44.
The Bears shot 24-of-63 (38.1%) overall, 4-of-11 (36.4%) from 3-point range, and 19-of-28 (67.9%) from the free throw line.
The Garnet shot 18-of-52 (34.6%) from the field, 4-of-21 (19%) from beyond and 17-of-19 (89.5%) from the line.
Ursinus outgained Swarthmore, 43-36, on the glass and 32-14 in paint points. The Bears grabbed seven more offensive rebounds, 18 to 11.
The Bears return home Saturday against Dickinson at 3 p.m.