he Elizabethtown College women’s basketball team honored its seniors in the best way possible: by winning. The Blue Jays won their third game in a row on Saturday when they defeated Hood College (5-18, 2-14 CC) 74-55 on Senior Day.
Etown honored its two senior captains, Taylor Kreider and Kendra Beittel, who both finished in double figures. Kreider went for her 12th double-double this season, scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Beittel finished with 12 points for the game.
“I think it’s always an emotional day no matter if it’s your senior day or not,” Beittel said. “It was very important for us to go out and get that win because you never know when will be the last game you play on your home court.”
The Blue Jays started the game with sloppy play, missing their first four shots and turning the ball over on another possession. Etown did not score its first points until a basket by junior center Emily Young almost three minutes into the game.
Every time the Blue Jays looked like they were going to pull away from the Blazers, Hood battled back. Led by Kreider and sophomore guard Rachel Forjan, who scored eight of her 19 points in the first half, the Blue Jays led 31-30 after the first half.
Hood took their largest lead of the game early in the second half on two free-throws to go up 36-33. On the next possession, Beittel hit her second three-pointer to tie the game at 36. The shot started a 13-3 Blue Jays run that was capped by a Forjan three-pointer to give the home team a 49-39 advantage.
The Blue Jays heated up in the second half, hitting on 15 of their 27 shot attempts. The Blazers went ice-cold, shooting eight of 30 and being outscored 43-25 over the last 20 minutes.
Young was the fourth Blue Jay in double figures, scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
With a Lebanon Valley College win over Messiah College, the Blue Jays have moved into a three-way tie for first place in the conference. Etown owns the tie-breaker over both schools.
Prior to Tuesday night’s game against Stevenson University, Kreider was tabbed as Commonwealth Conference Player of the Week for her recent performances. She is the first Blue Jay to receive a conference accolade this season.
Kreider continued her recent success by pouring in a season-high 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the year. Kreider was joined by three other Blue Jays in double figures as Etown won its 13th conference game this season. Young (14), Forjan (13), and Beittel (10) combined with Kreider to score 61 of the team’s 72 points. The Blue Jays turned a five point halftime advantage into a 72-66 road victory over the Mustangs.
The win was significant in many ways for the Blue Jays. The victory was the program’s 1,000th win in its 85-year history. The Blue Jays join Division I programs the University of Tennessee and Louisiana Tech University as the only teams to win 1,000 games. Etown has compiled a 1,000-497-7 record dating back to the 1928-29 season. Former Head Coach Yvonne Kauffman won 689 of those games in 42 seasons, and current Head Coach Sherri Gorman has led Etown to 34 wins in just under two full seasons. Gorman played under Kauffman and was an All-American and National Champion.
The victory over Stevenson also guarantees the Blue Jays at least the three-seed in the upcoming Commonwealth Conference playoffs. However, if the Blue Jays grab the road victory at Albright College on Saturday afternoon, they will have locked up the number one overall seed in their final year in the conference.
“We have worked so hard to get to where we are now and I think we all know that we just need to finish strong now,” said Beittel. “I think we are very capable of doing great things.”
Tip off at Albright is set for 2 p.m.