The Hopkins women’s basketball team continued their second half of the season with a Centennial Conference matchup on Saturday as they hosted the Muhlenberg College Mules in the Goldfarb Gymnasium.
It was a slow start for both team’s offenses, with neither being able to sink any of their shots in the opening minute and a half of the first quarter. Muhlenberg opened the scoring with five straight points to take an early lead, but a three-pointer from sophomore guard Diarra Oden put Hopkins on the board to cut the lead to two. Oden would be the lone Jay to score for the first six minutes and 24 seconds as the sophomore racked up eight points to the Mules’ 11.
Muhlenberg would extend their lead to 18-8 after three straight baskets, but senior guard Maggie Wodicka and junior forward Elise Moore added a pair of two-point buckets for the Jays to cut into the deficit. However, the Mules would strike last with a three-pointer to put themselves ahead 21-12 as the first quarter concluded.
The second quarter would be a defensive battle that, just like the first half, made points a premium for both teams. Wodicka then hit a jump shot to start the quarter, but those two points would be the only ones that Hopkins would manage to score for another three and a half minutes. Hopkins went on to cut the deficit to four before the teams began trading baskets back and forth for the rest of the half, leaving the Mules ahead 28-23 at the halfway point of the game.
The third quarter would be another back-and-forth affair as Oden continued to try and keep the game close with six points to Muhlenberg’s four. The final six minutes of the quarter would be all Muhlenberg, with the Mules finishing on a 14-0 run to put them ahead 46-29.
Despite the momentum swinging to the Muhlenberg sidelines, Hopkins refused to go down without a fight. Junior forward Erin Walsh’s jump shot 30 seconds into the quarter kicked off a seven-point run to put the Jays back within 10 points of the Mules.
Ten points would be the closest that Hopkins would get to the Mules for the remainder of the game. Muhlenberg would respond with back-to-back jumpers to go up 50-36 with four minutes and 20 seconds left on the clock, and the Centennial Conference foes would again trade baskets until time ran out, with Hopkins eventually falling to the Mules 53-42.
Oden was a dominant force offensively for the Jays and finished with 19 points while Wodicka contributed 11 of her own. The offensive struggles of the Jays resulted in a field goal percentage of 27.6 percent and a three-point percentage of just 12.0 percent compared to the Mules’ 36.7 percent and 19.0 percent respectively.
While a loss is never ideal for a player, Oden understands that a loss can be a good opportunity for the team to refocus and determine how best to improve going forward.
“We were pretty disappointed in the loss with our energy and effort throughout the entire game, so moving forward we are really focused on taking pride in how we play and who we play for,” Oden said.
Three different Muhlenberg players would finish with double-digit points.
Led by forward Margaux Eripret’s 22 points, guard Mikaela McGarvey and forward Amanda Gorski put up 11 and 10 points each.
The loss drops Hopkins to 11-7 overall with an 8-5 record in Centennial Conference play while Muhlenberg now sits at 9-9 overall with a 7-6 Conference record. The Jays sit at third in the Centennial standings as they continue to battle for a spot in the Centennial Conference tournament at the end of the season.
As they move towards the end of their 2019-2020 campaign, Oden hopes that the team continues to mesh well together and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses in order to accomplish their goals.
“We want to continue to establish a strong team culture of togetherness and support, especially as we migrate closer to the conference tournament where our end goal is to win a championship,” Oden said.
Hopkins will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 5 when they travel to Pennsylvania to take on the Bryn Mawr College Owls in a Centennial Conference matchup. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.