The Elizabethtown College women’s basketball team opened its season on Saturday evening with a victory against Marywood University. The win earned the Blue Jays a spot in Sunday’s championship game of the Terry Greene Memorial Tournament at Franklin & Marshall College.
The Blue Jays jumped on top of Marywood in the first half, holding a 10-point halftime advantage at 31-21. Through the first 20 minutes of action, senior Taylor Alwine led all scorers with 12 points on five of seven shooting from the field. Etown also had help from a few first-years with Emma Hoesman and Marissa Gingrich scoring four and five points in the first half, respectively. The Blue Jays held their largest lead of the game at 12 with just over a minute to go in the first half.
In the second half, Marywood clawed its way back, cutting the lead to four late in the game. Floor general, sophomore Krissy Pennell, kept the Blue Jays ahead by taking care of the ball and dishing out five assists to go along with her eight points.
As a team, the Blue Jays did not shoot particularly well, finishing the game 22 for 62. However, Alwine shot an exceptional 11 of 15 from the field, en route to a career high of 30 points. Alwine played a team-high 35 minutes and grabbed nine rebounds to go along with her 30 points.
As Marywood came as close as two points with under a minute remaining in the game, the Blue Jays stepped up and knocked down clutch free throws to seal the victory. Pennell went four for four in the final minute from the charity stripe, while Alwine knocked down a pair of big free throws to ice the win.
Sophomore forward Emily Martin scored seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Blue Jays. Hoesman and Gingrich both finished with six points on the evening.
The Blue Jays faced old Commonwealth Conference rival Hood College in the Championship game on Sunday night. Much like the night before, the Blue Jays jumped on their opponents early and often. Etown opened with a 10-0 lead in the first five minutes. The lead was as much as 14 early on with the Blue Jays opening the game on a 16-2 run. Alwine led the first half charge once again, shooting five of eight from the floor for 12 first-half points. She scored 10 of Etown’s first 16 points in the early run.
Hood closed the gap by halftime and trailed 26-19 going into the break. The story of the second half was the Blazers’ ability to fight back, but they were never able to get close enough to tie or take the lead. The Blue Jays were able to hold off a couple of Blazer runs in the second half and held a six point lead with under two minutes to go in the game.
After a pair of missed free throws gave Hood life with under 30 seconds remaining, the Blazers made a basket to cut the deficit to two with 19 seconds left on the clock. After two consecutive jump balls gave Hood the ball with a last-second chance, the Blazers missed a game-tying three to give the Blue Jays the victory.
Etown held on for a 50-47 win and took home the Terry Greene Memorial title for the second year in a row. Hood was 0-4 all-time against Etown going into Sunday’s Championship game.
Alwine was named Tournament Most Valuable Player for her 46 points and 18 rebounds in two games. For the second straight night, Alwine came one rebound shy of a double-double.
Pennell joined Alwine as the only other Blue Jay to reach double-digit points. Pennell finished with 14 points, connecting on half of Etown’s 10 second-half field goals. Gingrich added seven points for the winners, while Martin added six points, five rebounds and two blocks.
The Blue Jays were outrebounded by Hood 55-36, a statistic Etown must improve in order to continue winning games this season. However, Etown did a solid job of taking care of the basketball, committing just 11 turnovers and forcing Hood to commit 30. Alwine and Pennell led the Blue Jays with four steals apiece.
The Blue Jays (2-0) will host Lancaster Bible College tonight in the team’s home-opener. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.