Junior guard Lillian Scott leads the Blue Jays with 19 points in the Conference semifinals.
After their comeback victory last Tuesday night against the Ursinus College Bears, the Hopkins women’s basketball team carried their first-round momentum into the next three days of training. Despite fighting mental fatigue and physical injuries throughout the week, the Blue Jays felt prepared going into their matchup against the first-seeded Gettysburg College Bullets Friday night. The Jays were especially motivated to take down the Bullets after their season-ending loss to them in the Tournament last year.
However, with the help of home-court advantage, the Bullets came out on top, marking their third victory against the Jays this season.
Junior forward Rory Cole discussed the team’s performance.
“I think our team fought really hard through a lot of uncontrollables,” Cole said.
Hopkins came out with fire at the start of the game, establishing an easy 4-0 lead. The Bullets eventually got on the scoreboard, but it was not long until junior guard Sophia Way drained a three-pointer, putting the Blue Jays up 7-2.
With a little over five minutes remaining in the first quarter, both teams exchanged threes. The teams would continue to battle, and eventually junior guard Lexie Scholtz would hit an impressive shot beyond the arc, extending their lead to 15-5.
Gettysburg responded with a run of their own, hitting all three of their following shots. The score was tied at 17, but forward Emily Gibbons gave the Bullets their first lead of the game. Gettysburg guard Emma Dorshimer ended the first quarter with a three-pointer to widen the gap to 22-17.
Gettysburg commenced the second-quarter scoring, but junior guard Madison McGrath responded with a layup to keep the game within five.
The Bullets did not grow complacent with their four-point lead. Instead, they scored the next seven points, putting the score at 35-24. Junior guard Lillian Scott would not let the run last much longer, as she fought through a foul to land a layup and a free throw. However, Gettysburg ran the ball back down the court, scoring a layup to put them up 37-27 at halftime.
The Bullets continued to assert their dominance, as they increased their lead to 13. Way was able to bring the Jays’ deficit under 10 with a three-pointer, but Gibbons put in another layup to create a 12-point cushion for the Bullets at the end of the third quarter.
The Blue Jays continued to fight, as Scholtz scored the first six points of the fourth quarter. The junior helped Hopkins keep the game within six.
Then the Bullets returned the favor, as they immediately went on a six-point run. With a little less than three minutes left of play, Scott drained a three, pushing the score to 56-45.
With the clock ticking down, Hopkins was unable to make up the deficit at the end of the game. Gettysburg, going four-for-four on their remaining free throws, took the 63-55 victory in the Centennial Conference semifinals.
“Madison [McGrath] drained two huge threes at the end of the game, and Lexie [Scholtz] came up with a big steal, and I think those plays really showed how hard we fought through the game,” Cole said.
Despite the loss, several Jays posted notable performances. Scott, Way and McGrath all tallied double-digit points, with 19, 10 and 10, respectively. Additionally, Scholtz recorded a team-high 10 rebounds.
Cole reflects on the team’s growth throughout this season and looks forward to further developing the team next year.
“Our team came into the season really frustrated about our defense, and we really made huge strides on that front,” Cole said. “We also figured out how to be more cohesive as a team, and I think we are all looking forward to keep developing our relationships on and off the floor throughout the next year.”
Head coach Katherine Bixby is now the first coach in Centennial Conference history to guide two different teams, Hopkins and Dickinson College, to the semifinals. This season was Bixby’s first with the Jays.
“Playing for Coach Bixby this year has been a pleasure,” Cole said. “It’s easy to see her going out of her way to develop a positive relationship with each one of us. She was hard on us when it came to playing better defense and playing as a team, and she also applauded us when we executed things well or grew as a team.”
For next year, Hopkins already has an leg up against their Conference foes, as the Jays have no seniors graduating. With the seven-man junior class having a season’s worth of leadership experience, the team will have a strong foundation.