by Tom Utescher
Last Friday’s women’s basketball bout at Chestnut Hill College involved two teams that were followed by frustration through the 2011 portion of the season. The host Griffins were able to close out the old year on a positive note, though, rising to 2-9 overall with a 63-59 victory over visiting Mercy College, which retreated back to Dobbs Ferry, NY with a record of 0-10.
The contest was close throughout, as Chestnut Hill earned a 34-31 halftime lead, but found itself down by a point, 54-53, with five minutes left to play. Senior forward Ebony Washington gathered a game-high 15 rebounds and registered six points, two blocks, and two steals, and junior Lindsay Alexander led the winners in scoring with 10 points, while collecting four rebounds and four steals.
The visiting Mavericks had four players score in double digits as opposed to just one for CHC, but a total of 11 different Griffins found the basket over the course of the afternoon.
Inside scores by Washington and Alexander gave the Griffins a 4-0 start, but the Mavericks soon got into their gait and kept pace with their hosts. CHC freshman Lila Jones made all of her first five free throws, and six minutes in, the hosts had a 12-11 edge. Midway through the period, though, six points from Jasmine Williams and four from fellow forward Talia Beaulieu had helped the visitors acquire the largest lead of the half at 21-16.
Tenisha Townsend-Mobley, a freshman guard, came off the Chestnut Hill bench to render assistance, sinking two free throws and bagging a three-pointer from the left wing to help rally the home team.
With the count locked up at 26 all and 5:34 remaining in the half, Griffin fans saw an unfamiliar figure enter the game wearing a CHC uniform. Freshman guard Olivia Gorzynski, who just became eligible to play, scored all of her seven points for the night at the tail end of the opening period.
She hit two free throws, a three-pointer, and a transition lay-up off of a pass from classmate Randi Jo Farrell. Senior forward Ashlen Stayrook added a point from the foul line, and the Griffins led 34-31 at the break.
Chestnut Hill had the lead much of the time in the second half, but couldn’t break the game open. The Griffins were ahead by five, 51-46, with 8:15 left to play, but then came away empty when they had an opportunity to tack on three straight points from the foul line. Instead, Mercy came back to tie the game at 52-all.
Just after that, the Mavericks committed their tenth team foul to put the Griffins in the double bonus. A little earlier, Mercy had seen starting guard Simone Williams go to the bench with her fifth personal foul.
Chestnut Hill went up by five points once more, 60-55, but Mercy scored a lay-up with 72 seconds remaining and then forced the Griffins to turn the ball over. Fortunately for the locals, the Mavericks missed several consecutive shots, and then had to foul CHC senior Aiesha Smith.
After Smith made both free throws for a 62-57 tally, Mercy bobbled the ball out over the sideline just beyond midcourt. When Griffins junior Marqesah Spicer (eight points total) was fouled she made the second of her two tosses for a six-point lead, but Beaulieu bagged a jumper from near the foul line with 21 seconds to go.
The Mavericks stole the ball back, then missed their final shot of the game, with Alexander snapping up the rebound for the victorious Griffins.