by Tom Utescher
After dropping a Malvern Summer League contest to a team of Widener University players at the start of last week, the Ursinus College squad that rosters five area alums got back on the winning track last Wednesday evening.
Taking on a team called Liberty that combines athletes from a number of different colleges, the summer Bears built up a buffer of a dozen points in the first half, then repulsed a Liberty rally in the second stanza to emerge victorious, 43-35. The victory raised the record of the Ursinus crew to 3-1 in the Malvern League, which is based at Cabrini College over in Radnor.
The two 2013 Mount St. Joe grads who will be attending Ursinus last encountered Liberty center Mariah Traywick back in March of 2012. That meeting came in the second round of the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament, where the Magic were eliminated by Traywick’s Spring-Ford High School squad. The 6’1” Traywick has just completed her freshman year at Shippensburg University.
However, it turned out to be the Liberty team’s guards, not their post players, that kept them in the game last Wednesday. Early offense by 2012 Springside Chestnut Hill Academy grad Elana Roadcloud helped Ursinus enjoy a 6-5 edge five minutes into the action, but Liberty later inched ahead, 12-11 and then 14-13.
Incoming freshman guard Hannah Kelly connected on a three-pointer and then converted on a breakaway for Ursinus, and Roadcloud also scored in transition as the Bears went ahead for good. With a little over four minutes left in the first period the gap had reached double figures, at 26-16, and the count was 32-20 at halftime.
The scoring pace slowed during the first eight minutes or so in the second period, and most of the few points that went up on the board belonged to Liberty. They put together a 7-1 spurt to cut the lead to six points, 33-27.
Ursinus finally relocated the basket and quickly climbed back to a double-digit advantage as a trey by Kelly was followed by a shorter jumper by Ali Abbonizio, a former Girls Inter-Ac League player who recently graduated from the Academy of Notre Dame.
This proved to be the beginning of a decisive run for Ursinus, who was sitting atop a 43-37 perch with just over seven minutes remaining. Liberty made a spirited late run, but was still eight points behind the Bears at the final horn.
Kelly had 10 points and Roadcloud finished with eight for Ursinus, which also received four points from 2013 Mount St. Joe grad Adrienne Cellucci.