by Tom Utescher
It was the final home court appearance for four Chestnut Hill College seniors and it was the birthday of freshman guard Brittany McDonough, but aside from that there wasn’t much for the Griffins to celebrate at Sorgenti Arena last Saturday afternoon.
In a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference match-up, host CHC hung with The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP) for 11 minutes, but then the Devils broke loose with a 14-0 run. The visitors continued on to a 38-23 halftime lead, and in the second period an 11-0 outburst helped USP claim a 71-51 victory.
The setback snapped a four-game win streak at Sorgenti for Chestnut Hill, which slipped to 6-19 overall and 4-14 within the CACC. The respective records for USP were 14-11, 12-6 after the contest.
Before the game, the CHC community officially bid farewell to two senior starters.
Lindsay Alexander has been a mainstay at small forward throughout her tenure, and she joined the 1000-point scorers’ club this season. Complementing her in the backcourt was Latoya Laing, who could penetrate to the hoop and also step back to hit three-pointers for the Griffins.
The other two seniors are reserve forward Megan Shaughnessy and guard-turned-manager Asha Jones.
Over the first five minutes of the game itself, two three-point field goals by sophomore guard Olivia Gorczynski and a “three” and a lay-up by Laing helped the Griffins gain a one-point edge, 11-10. Mount St. Joseph Academy fans would’ve recognized two former league opponents in the starting line-up for USP. Senior forward Caroline Edwards is a product of St. Basil’s, and sophomore guard Jessica Sylvester graduated from Nazareth Academy.
For Chestnut Hill, junior post payer Aimee Bouie came off the bench to deposit two buckets off of offensive rebounds, and then she earned an assist on a pass that facilitated a lay-up for Gorczynski. That field goal again gave Chestnut Hill another one-point advantage, this time at 19-18 with nine minutes left in the first half.
Sylvester, the former Nazareth Panda, stepped up with the first of her five three-point baskets on the day, and Edwards joined in with a trey and a baseline jumper during a 14-0 surge for the Devils in a six-minute span. The spree was ended by back-to-back drives by CHC’s Lila Jones, a reserve sophomore guard, but in the final 30 seconds of the half USP’s Sylvester had the final word. Launching from opposite sides of the court, she bagged a pair of three-pointers that set the halftime count at 38-23.
Other statistics helped illustrate how the visitors had gained the upper hand; they outrebounded the Griffins 24-12 in the opening period, and committed eight turnovers to CHC’s 15.
The home team was able to keep pace for seven minutes or so in the second half, then two more triples by Sylvester made up part of an 11-0 offensive for the Devils. That spread the score to 61-34 with eight-and-a-half minutes left to play, and CHC couldn’t recover. The USP lead peaked at 28 points before Chestnut Hill made up some ground at the end.
Laing led the Griffins with 18 points, but 11 of them came over the last eight minutes, when the game was already irretrievably lost. Bouie, Gorczynski, and Jones each had eight points for Chestnut Hill, and in the rebounds column there were five grabs apiece for Bouie, Laing, and Alexander (four points).
USP sophomore guard Brianne Traub rang up a game-high 23 points along with eight rebounds, making three of her four three-point shots and shooting nine-for-17 from the floor overall. Sylvester had 17 points, four assists, and three steals, Edwards finished with seven points, three rebounds, and three assists. Senior forward Becca Ruggear collected a game-high 10 rebounds while scoring the same number of points.