BRYN MAWR, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr basketball team put on a tremendous effort against Muhlenberg earlier Wednesday night, particularly on the defensive end. The Owls were very active on the defensive side of the floor most of the way through the contest, causing 12 turnovers, blocking two shots, and holding the Mules to just 35% from the floor. In the first quarter, Bryn Mawr kept the Mules to just seven points, their second-fewest points in a period all season. That and an offensive attack sparked by a strong 4-for-6 night from Sydney Garner helped Bryn Mawr keep things tight early on. However, the Owls just ran out of gas in the middle of the game, and ultimately Muhlenberg was able to build some distance in the second half en route to a 61-32 victory. That is still an impressive effort by the Owls, as they held Muhlenberg to their fewest points scored in a game in the series between the two programs since February of 2006. Garner and Halena Martin led the way for the Owls with nine points apiece in this one, while Muhlenberg was championed by 10 points each from Carley Hamilton and Eva Sodaitis.
Bryn Mawr got off to a hot start thanks to a strong defensive rebound from Garner, which led to a wide open jumper for Martin on a great assist by Brendan Harrison. That gave the Owls an early lead, and set the tone for a slugfest in the first quarter. Muhlenberg tied things up thanks to a long possession that saw the Mules grab two offensive rebounds, but Bryn Mawr immediately jumped back out in front on another jumper from Martin, this time off a feed from Laya Paladugu. A minute later, Muhlenberg knotted the game at 4-4, and then the teams went scoreless for the next three minutes. Both sides had chances, but they shot 0-for-7 combined in that stretch, including four missed three-pointers. Laura Horner finally got a deep ball to drop for the Mules, breaking the deadlock and thrusting the visitors ahead, but Garner kept things close a minute later with a beautiful post move to earn an easy layup. That was where things would stay for the rest of the period, as Bryn Mawr held the Mules to just 3-of-17 shooting in the frame en route to their second-worst quarter of the season. Meanwhile, the Owls had put up an efficient 3-for-8 performance, meaning despite six turnovers in the frame, they trailed by just one heading into the second quarter.
Unfortunately for the Owls, things unraveled somewhat quickly in the opening minutes of the second period. Muhlenberg started the quarter by doubling their point total in the first 2:06 of play. The Owls momentarily stopped the bleeding on a beautiful three-pointer right at the top of the circle by Laya Paladugu, again on a great pass by Harrison. However, despite two more great post plays by Garner later in the quarter, the Mules ultimately built out a 27-13 advantage. Martin drained another jumper in the final minute of the quarter on a nice pass by Cleo Elizabeth-Robertson, but Muhlenberg was still able to take a 27-15 advantage to the locker room at the half.
In the third quarter, Muhlenberg got hot and shot 50% from the floor, scoring 24 points in the frame. On the other end, Bryn Mawr had trouble finding anything offensively. The Mules played some solid defense of their own in the frame, using seven steals and a block to frustrate Bryn Mawr's offense and hold them to just two baskets in the period. However, the Owls would not let that faze them, and the team buckled down to put another impressive period together to close out the game. Elizabeth Chan started things with a trip to the free throw line, where she split the pair. Muhlenberg got back-to-back jumpers from Eva Sodaitis to increase their lead, but Chan headed back to the charity stripe for two more points. Then, Laya Paladugu hit two free throws of her own, and Martin followed with another jumper. Elizabeth-Robertson, Paladugu, and Martin each hit more free throws to close out Bryn Mawr's scoring, and but for a late jumper from the Mules, Bryn Mawr would have held their opponents to single digits in the frame once again. As it stood, Bryn Mawr still outscored their opponents by an 11-10 margin in the final quarter.
Not only was tonight the fewest points Bryn Mawr has allowed to Muhlenberg in over a decade, but it was also the closest margin between the two teams since their February 15, 2010 matchup.
The Owls will look to continue their strong play when they get back in action on Saturday to close out their current homestand. Bryn Mawr will welcome Johns Hopkins to campus over the weekend, with the Blue Jays currently sitting in second place in the conference standings. Bryn Mawr will try and throw a wrench in Hopkins' hopes of taking the title, and it all goes down at 2:00 PM in the Class of 1958 Gymnasium on Bryn Mawr's campus.