On Saturday, the Hopkins women’s basketball team took on the Ursinus College Bears in the Blue Jays’ Senior Day game. It was likely the last home game for the seven seniors on the team: guards Lexie Scholtz, Madison McGrath and Lillian Scott; forwards Marissa Varnado, Maggie Spitzer and Rory Cole; and manager Sophia Way.
Spitzer spoke about how this senior class has grown over their four years.
“It is hard to even explain just how much the seven of us have grown together over the past four years. We went through a major coaching change and learned how to lead together with our very different personalities,” she said. “Our class has always had so much talent, so it has been a blessing to grow over the years together into leaders of the program.”
The Blue Jays jumped out to an early lead, going up 9-4 just over two and a half minutes into the game. Coach Katherine Bixby maintained a lineup of five seniors for the first five minutes of the game, during which time they maintained the five-point lead at 13-8.
The Blue Jays would keep up the pace through the end of the quarter, shooting 71 percent for the quarter to lead 24-15 after the first 10 minutes of play.
In the second quarter, the hot hands cooled down offensively, but the Hopkins defense picked up the slack. They held the Bears to only 12 points in the quarter and scored nine of their own to put the score at 33-27 heading into the halftime break.
The Blue Jays started the second half the same way they started the first half, rolling on all cylinders offensively. They scored the first six points of the third quarter, four of which came courtesy of Spitzer. They continued to grow the lead, and Scott scored nine points in the quarter. The Jays once again scored 24 points in a quarter to balloon the lead to 19, with the score reading 57-38.
With such a big lead, the fourth quarter became irrelevant quickly, and with 1:35 left in the game and a 23-point lead, all the seniors were able to walk off the court victoriously to a standing ovation when they were subbed out.
The final score was 75-53, and the Blue Jays improved to 18-2 in Conference play and 22-3 overall. They locked in the No. 2 seed for the Centennial Conference Tournament, which will be hosted by the No. 1 seed, the Gettysburg College Bullets.
Spitzer talked about how the win set the tone for the team heading into the playoffs.
“We maintained a high level of energy and intensity that began with our seniors and spread throughout the team. The confidence and composure we showed against Ursinus were crucial for setting the tone in post-season,” Spitzer said.
The Blue Jays shot 53.7 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from three and held the Bears to 39.6 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from three.
The other seniors who contributed were Spitzer, who earned eight points and four assists, as well as four points and six rebounds from Cole and seven points and two rebounds from Varnado.
For the Blue Jays, Scott led the way with 27 points, shooting 10-15 from the field and 50 percent from the three point line. She also added four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Scholtz added 18 points of her own, with five rebounds and three assists.
In the first round of the Conference Tournament, the Blue Jays will face off against the No. 3 seed Haverford College Fords, who Hopkins beat twice in the regular season.
“Our goal is to win the Conference Tournament this weekend, and we are ready to take it one game at a time, starting with Haverford on Friday night,” Spitzer said.
The Blue Jays enter the contest on a nine-game winning streak for the first time since the 2011-12 season. The 18 Conference wins is also the most in program history.