Saturday was another successful day for the Blue Jays in Goldfarb Gymnasium. The women’s basketball team defended their home court against the Washington College Shorewomen, defeating them by a score of 50-37. It was a matchup characterized by a staunch defensive effort by the Jays, who neutralized their opponents’ offensive efforts for much of the game.
Hopkins started off strong in the first quarter, setting the tone early by jumping out to an 8-2 lead. It was not until halfway through the quarter at the six-minute mark that the Shorewomen were able to score another point, draining a three to make the score 8-5.
Washington College continued to crawl their way back into the game, cutting the Hopkins lead back to one. At the end of the first, the score was only 13-13, as suffocating defense seemed to be on the menu for the afternoon.
The Jays made it a point to shut down the Shorewomen’s offense throughout the rest of the Centennial Conference matchup. In the second quarter, Hopkins outscored Washington College by a margin of 11-4. The visitors only shot a measly 28.57 percent from the field in the first half, as they were smothered by the collective defensive effort of the Blue Jays.
Freshman guard Diarra Oden, who, as a pivotal member of the Jays’ starting lineup, has been providing energy on both sides of the ball, shared the key to the impressive performance by the defense.
“Communication is something we really stress to each other,” Oden said. “Lately, we have been trying to hold each other more accountable for everything, which has really helped on the defensive end.”
When asked about coming into her own as a lockdown defender and hustle rebounder, Oden pointed to the competitive, fast-paced nature of the Jays’ practices as the reason for her success.
“I feel prepared for important plays and games whenever I go up against the rest of our talented team,” she said.
The connected defensive unit, in combination with a swift 9-0 run at the end of the second quarter, helped the Blue Jays jump out to a 24-17 lead at halftime.
Senior guard Lillian Scott contributed seven of the nine points and finished with a dazzling 26-point performance to lead all scorers. It was another impressive outing for the New Jersey native, who put up 22 points in the team’s previous win against Franklin & Marshall College.
Scott pointed to a focus on capitalizing on defensive lapses as a reason for her recent scoring outburst.
“I think the key has been to just be aggressive,” she said. “The goal is to take advantage of any offensive opportunity that is presented.”
From the beginning of the second half, Hopkins controlled the tempo of the game and never looked back. After quick back-to-back buckets shrunk Hopkins’ lead to three, the home squad began to put distance between itself and the visitors. Senior guard Madison McGrath drained a huge three to increase the lead to six.
After a response layup from the Shorewomen, the Jays took full control of the game. They finished the third quarter with a pivotal 13-2 run, leaving the visitors behind in the dust. This run gave them a 40-24 advantage, all but spelling the end of the game.
Hopkins ended up winning by a score of 50-37, improving its in-Conference record to 12-2, with its only two losses coming from Gettysburg, who is first and 12-1 in the Centennial Conference.
Scott shared with us the key focus that has allowed them to piece these wins together.
“I think the focus has been to improve our communication and continue to treat each game as preparation for when we see Gettysburg in the playoffs,” she said.
The Blue Jays look to continue their hot streak as they drive up to Pa. to face the Bryn Mawr College Owls on Saturday, Feb. 2.