Espinosa's Jumper With 52 Seconds Left Puts WC Up For Good
WESTMINSTER, MD – Freshman guard Ashley Espinosa (Reading, PA/Governor Mifflin) scored on a jumper with 52 seconds left to put visiting Washington College up for good at 70-69 as the visiting Shorewomen downed host McDaniel, 71-69, in Centennial Conference women's basketball action on Wednesday night at the Gill Center. The Shorewomen are now 8-8 overall and 6-5 in the conference, while the Green Terror slide to 6-9 and 3-8 respectively.
It was Washington's first win in Westminster since a 66-54 victory over then-Western Maryland on February 19, 2000, a span of 10 games. Tonight's win also gives the Shorewomen a season sweep of the Green Terror for the first time. Washington has now downed McDaniel three straight times, the most consecutive wins for the Shorewomen over the Green Terror on the hardwood.
Down 63-56 with 5:15 to go in the contest following two Espinosa free throws, McDaniel scored six straight points to cut the lead to 63-62 with 3:59 remaining in the game on two Rachael Rybak free throws. Washington would respond 18 seconds later on a three-pointer by junior guard Kelly Mitchell (Laurel, MD/Academy of the Holy Cross) to make it 66-62, but McDaniel cut the lead to 66-64 with 3:21 remaining on a McMaster jumper. After a miss by the Shorewomen, the Green Terror tied the game at 66-66 with 2:46 left on a Brittany Davis layup. Davis stole the ball on the next WC possession and Steph Perez was fouled on the ensuing McDaniel possession. Perez canned two free throws to put the hosts up 68-66 with 2:34 left in the game. Junior forward Latisha Pledger (Chesapeake, VA/Indian River) would even the game up at 68-68 when she scored on a second chance layup with 2:06 remaining.
After each side failed to score on its next possession, Shelby Taylor was fouled after she grabbed a defensive rebound with 1:08 left and sank one of two free throws to give McDaniel a 69-68 lead, but Espinosa answered 16 ticks later with a jumper to put WC back ahead at 70-69. On the Green Terror's next trip up the court, junior guard Claire Mattox (Arlington, VA/Potomac School) stole the ball with 25 seconds left and McDaniel fouled Pledger three seconds later. Pledger was able to make one of two from the line to push the lead to 71-69 with 22 seconds left. McDaniel had two chances to tie it in the last six seconds, but shots by Perez and Taylor were off the mark and the Shorewomen got their first win in Westminster in 13 years.
The Shorewomen raced out to a 13-4 lead in the first six minutes of the games, capping the opening run on a traditional three-point play by sophomore guard Emily Hubley (West Chester, PA/Bayard Rustin) with 14:07 to go in the first half. The Green Terror would answer with eight unanswered points to trim the lead to 13-12 with 9:40 left in the first on a Rybak jumper. Washington led 18-12 with 8:36 left in the half following a three-pointer by Mitchell before McDaniel went on a 12-2 spurt to take a 24-20 lead with 4:46 remaining in the opening half on a Codi McMaster basket. The Green Terror would push their lead to 31-23 with 3:54 to go in half on a pair of Davis free throws. Washington would score the next nine points to grab a 32-31 lead with 2:25 to go in the first when Mattox connected on a jumper. The Green Terror scored six of the final 10 points of the half to take a 37-36 lead into the locker room.
The first 7:44 of the second half saw nine lead changes with Washington grabbing a 47-46 lead with 12:16 remaining in the contest on two free throws by Pledger. The two teams were tied 49-49 with 10:13 to go in the second half following a three-pointer by McDaniel's Samantha Dowling when the Shorewomen went on a 9-2 run over the next 3:05 to take a 58-51 lead with 7:08 left in the second on a layup by Espinosa.
Espinosa scored a team-high 18 points, while Pledger notched her fourth double-double of the year with 17 points and 20 rebounds for the Shorewomen. It is the second straight double-double for the junior as she notched one on Tuesday night at Franklin & Marshall. Mitchell scored 12 points as she scored all her points on four three-pointers. Washington shot 44% (26-for-59) from the field, 54% (7-for-13) from three-point land and 80% (12-for-15) from the charity stripe. The Shorewomen held a 42-25 edge on the boards and outscored the Green Terror in points in the paint (34-18), second-chance points (19-7) and bench points (26-14).
Perez scored a game-high 19 points for the Green Terror, while Rybak had 16 points and McMaster added 14 points. McMaster grabbed a team-best nine rebounds, while Davis had a game-best six assists and tied for tops with Taylor in steals with four. McDaniel held a 25-13 edge in points off of turnovers as they turned it over only 17 times while forcing 26 Washington turnovers. The Green Terror shot 46% (24-for-52) from the floor, 30% (3-for-10) from three-point range and 78% (18-for-23) from the foul line.
The Shorewomen return to action on Saturday afternoon with a 2:00 p.m. Centennial Conference contest at Muhlenberg.