In their third game of the season this past Saturday, the Hopkins women’s basketball team hosted the Messiah College Falcons in Goldfarb Gymnasium as the Blue Jays were looking to continue their strong start against one of the top teams in Division III.
The battle of the birds began as a back and forth affair, with neither team able to carve out much of a lead over the other. Sophomore guard Diarra Oden was all over the floor at the start of the first quarter. Less than three minutes in, Oden had scored all seven of Hopkins’ points and recorded two steals.
Oden’s efforts were matched by the Messiah offense, who wouldn’t allow the Jays to gain much of an advantage. With less than five minutes left in the first quarter, Messiah held a one-point lead 14-13. The high scoring offensive play that had characterized the first five and a half minutes would soon turn into a series of missed shots and turnovers, and there would only be one more shot the rest of the quarter: a jump shot by Messiah, as the Falcons increased their lead to three.
Defense would be the story to start the second quarter, as the Jays held the Falcons to just four points and were able to recapture the lead midway through on the back of four different Hopkins players. With Hopkins ahead 22-21, the Jays began to struggle to make shots, whereas Messiah would find a groove and respond with eight unanswered points to close out the half ahead 29-22.
The momentum that the Falcons had gained from their second quarter offensive burst continued into the third quarter. After taking a 13-point lead three minutes in, Messiah’s lead would only fall into the single digits once after junior guard Lyndsey Hoyd and senior forward Kenz Wilkinson led a seven-point run to narrow the deficit to eight.
Not to be outdone, Messiah would respond with six straight points to extend the advantage back to 14. Senior guard Maggie Wodicka would sink a three-pointer to end the run, but a last second jump shot from Messiah would give them a 49-36 lead going into the final 10 minutes of play.
Junior forward Elise Moore would start the Jays’ scoring in the fourth quarter with a three-pointer that was quickly reciprocated by a Messiah layup. Hopkins would reduce the lead to nine nearly four minutes into the quarter, but the Falcons would once again prevent Hopkins from establishing any lasting momentum.
A Messiah jump shot with 2:27 left on the clock would put the game at 59-45 and would be the final points of the game as the Jays fell to the Falcons.
Despite the loss, senior guard Jess Sweeney was proud of the way her team competed against a difficult opponent and sees it as an opportunity to improve.
“It was definitely a tough loss, but we played hard which was awesome. They’re a good team and they really showed us what we need to focus on moving forward,” Sweeney said. “Hopefully we get another shot at them down the road.”
Four different Messiah players would score in double digits in the contest, including 14 points from forward Leah Springer who also grabbed 17 rebounds in a double-double performance. Oden led the Blue Jays in points with 15 while Hoyd recorded nine and freshman guard Emily Howie led in rebounds with nine.
The Blue Jays struggled with their shooting throughout the game and finished making just 19 baskets out of 62 attempted shots for a 30.6 shooting percentage.
Messiah on the other hand was solid from the floor, making 22 of their 53 shots, or 41.5 percent.
Messiah also was a force in the paint and on the glass as well, leading Hopkins in points in the paint and rebounds with 34 and 42 to the Blue Jays 24 and 33. The Blue Jays also struggled to get to the free throw line, but capitalized on all three of their attempts, whereas Messiah scored 14 points on its 21 attempts.
The loss is the first for the Blue Jays in the young season and puts their record at 2-1 while Messiah improved to 4-0.
Hopkins will next be in action Saturday, Nov. 23, when they open up Centennial Conference play against the Bryn Mawr College Owls.
Tip off in Goldfarb Gymnasium is set for 1:00 pm.