Double-Doubles, a Historic Start and the 320 Challenge; Women's Basketball Earns 61-50 Victory Over Widener
SWARTHMORE, Pa. – Backed by double-double performances from Katie Lytle and Elle Larsen, the Swarthmore College women's basketball team (5-0) defeated Widener University (4-2) 61-50 in Monday night's 320 Challenge at Tarble Pavilion. With the victory, the Garnet matches its best start since the 2000-01 season.
Lytle, leading the Garnet to an early advantage, gathered a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double on the night. The junior guard collected 12 of those points in the first half. Larsen, a sophomore forward, gathered 9 of her 11 points and 9 of 14 rebounds in the second half to give the Garnet the final push to victory.
Senior Eliza Polli gathered 16 points as well; including four three-pointers, while aiding three steals. Madeline Ross added eight points in the winning effort, along with four assists and two blocks.
The Pride were led by senior Kate Dellinger with 18 points and eight rebounds in 38 minutes of play. Lil Carney gathered nine rebounds and nine points, while Ally Ferrucci had a game-high five assists.
This was a game where if the Pride faltered, the Garnet excelled; the first half surge for Swarthmore was aided by 13 points off turnovers. Widener managed just five points all night off turnovers, while Swarthmore ended with 17 converted points. Both teams concluded the game with 15 turnovers.
Swarthmore gathered an early advantage, 8-1, in the opening four minutes. After a timeout to regroup, the Pride went on a 4-0 run to shrink the scoring margin to 8-5. Polli responded with an all-net three-pointer. The middle of the first stanza quieted down for both teams with a lot of missed opportunities.
The Garnet strengthened its lead again in the final five minutes of the opening period. Lytle hit two free throws followed by a layup to put Swarthmore up 20-14 with just over three minutes left. Junior Kayla Moritzky hit the next two jumpers for the Garnet, now up 24-19, and Polli sunk her third three-pointer of the half with 35 seconds on the clock.
Lytle hit the buzzer-beating jumper to give the Garnet a 10-point advantage, 29-19, going into halftime. Swarthmore hit 36.4 percent in the field (12-33) in the first half, while both teams hit below 50 percent at the line.
With 7:07 to play, Swarthmore held a 48-37 lead after back-to-back jumpers from freshman Abbey Deckard. Ross hit a three-pointer to give the Garnet a 12-point edge with 5:33 on the clock. Larsen grabbed the layup and foul at 4:49 to convert on the three-point play, Swat 56-41.
The Garnet carried a 10-point lead into the final minute of play, sealing the win with four good free throws from Polli. Once again, Swat lead the entire game and had as large as a 15-point advantage.
After tonight's 320 Challenge match-up, Swarthmore holds a commanding 8-1 lead over Widener. The next installment takes place just after the New Year when the men's basketball teams meet.
The Garnet will return to Centennial Conference action Thursday night as Washington College makes its way to Tarble Pavilion for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off.