he Elizabethtown College women’s basketball team came into this week with a four-way tie for first place in the Commonwealth Conference. In their last four games, the Blue Jays faced the three teams that share the top spot in the standings. Etown went 2-1 in those three games, defeating Stevenson University and Lebanon Valley College.
The Blue Jays welcomed conference foe Alvernia University to Thompson Gymnasium on Saturday. Etown defeated the Crusaders (6-12, 2-10 CC) back on Jan. 18, 70-59. This time around, Alvernia played spoiler, taking advantage of a poor shooting afternoon by the Blue Jays. Etown shot just 29.7 percent (22-74) from the field and 40.9 percent (9-22) from the free throw line, yet they were in the game until the final buzzer.
An Alvernia basket by Tyra Roberts with 6:38 remaining in the first half gave the Crusaders a 15-13 advantage. Etown was never able to grab the lead from the Crusaders from that point on, falling behind by as many as 10 points midway through the second half.
With only eight seconds remaining on the game clock, sophomore guard Rachel Forjan drained a game-tying three pointer. Overtime seemed evident, but Alvernia inbounded the ball quickly and found Roberts on the low post for the game-winning layup as time expired. The Crusaders 58-56 victory was just their third in conference play.
“It was definitely a heartbreaker,” junior center Emily Young said. “We worked really hard for our win against LVC, so to have a game come down to the end like that and be on the losing end, it was hard to take.”
Senior guard/forward Taylor Kreider finished with a game-high 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds; her 10th double-double of the season. Senior guard Kendra Beittel played all but one minute of the game and registered 10 points. First-year forward Emily Martin pulled down 11 rebounds to go along with her five points.
The loss dropped the Blue Jays to fourth in the conference standings.
On Monday evening, Arcadia University (10-10, 4-9 CC) visited Etown for a game that was originally scheduled for Feb. 5 but was postponed due to inclement weather. The Blue Jays took complete control of the game from the start, going on an early 12-0 run to lead 22-7. The run was sparked by a layup from Kreider, which gave her over 1,000 points for her career. Play was stopped for a moment to acknowledge the senior’s accomplishment. Kreider is the 24th player in the program’s history to reach the milestone.
She finished the contest with 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
By halftime, the Blue Jays had opened up a 22-point advantage over the Crusaders, but they were far from done.
“We wanted to come out strong like we do every game, but knowing that they beat us the first time around, we wanted to pick up our intensity and pressure and keep our focus high all game,” Young said.
The Blue Jays opened up the second 20-minute session with a blistering 23-0 run to push the lead up to 45 with 13:35 in the game. Etown had three other players reach double-digit scoring aside from Kreider. Forjan hit two of her three shots from behind the arc for 16 points, Beittel went for 10 points and four steals and Young scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Martin and junior Taylor Alwine each pulled down eight boards, helping the Blue Jays out-rebound the Crusaders 52-31.
Last night, Etown traveled to Widener University and picked up a big road win, 60-53. Forjan led the Blue Jays with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Kreider finished with 13 points and nine rebounds while Young chipped in 10 points in the victory. With the win, the Blue Jays are now tied for second place in the conference standings.