November 29, 2011

Blue Jays Fend Off Shorewomen, 67-57

Tait Ties Single-Game School Record for Assists in Loss

CHESTERTOWN, MD -- Visiting Johns Hopkins led by as many as 20 points in the second half and withstood a late charge by host Washington College en route to a 67-57 Centennial Conference women's basketball victory tonight inside Cain Athletic Center.  The Blue Jays improved to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play with the win, while the Shorewomen, who saw senior guard Meghan Tait (Oxford, PA/Oxford Area) tie the single-game school record with 12 assists, fell to 1-2 and 0-2 with the loss.

Johns Hopkins scored the final five points of the first half to take a 32-25 lead into the intermission on a jumper in the paint by Maggie Fruehan with two seconds left in the period.  The Blue Jays shot 4-for-6 from three-point range in the opening half on the strength of a 3-for-3 performance from Alyssa Fleming.

Hopkins scored 15 of the first 22 points in the second half and later used an 8-0 run to build a 57-37 lead on a lay-up by Maggie Fruehan with 6:41 remaining. The Blue Jays maintained a 59-40 advantage with under five minute remaining before a 10-0 run by the Shorewomen, capped off by a three-pointer by senior guard Sally O'Donnell (Cape May Court House, NJ/Wildwood Catholic) with 2:04 remaining, cut the lead to nine points at 59-50. 

After a jumper by Chantel Mattiola gave the Blue Jays a 61-50 advantage, Tait scored on a driving lay-up and assisted on a bucket by sophomore forward Latisha Pledger (Chesapeake, VA/Indian River) with just under a minute to play to trim the margin to seven points at 61-54. A pair of free throws by Mattiola with 49 seconds left extended the lead back to nine points before Tait dished out her school record-tying 12th assist of the game on a banked-in three by sophomore guard Claire Mattox (Arlington, VA/Potomac School) with 40 seconds left to get the Shorewomen to within six points at 63-57.  That would be as close as the Shorewomen would get, however, as Stephanie Fong went 4-for-4 in a pair of trips to the free-throw line to seal the win for the Blue Jays.

Fong shared team-high scoring honors for Hopkins with KaraLea Follmer as each scored 12 points.  Fong also led the Blue Jays in rebounds and assists with six each. Alyssa Fleming added 11 points, all in the first half, off the bench for Hopkins.

Tait's 12 assists were just part of a strong all-around performance which also included 14 points, seven rebounds, four steals, and a career-best three blocked shots. Her dozen assists tied the school record set by Elise Conway January 12, 2008, and matched by Jessica Jamrogowicz on January 10, 2009. O'Donnell scored a game-high 18 points for the Shorewomen and brought down five boards, while sophomore forward Erin Fitzgerald (Greensboro, NC/Bishop McGuiness) led all players with nine rebounds and matched her career high with three blocks. 

Hopkins shot 41% from the field for the game to Washington's 38%.  The Blue Jays committed 17 turnovers, but Washington committed 26. Washington did hold a 42-36 advantage on the board but made just five of its first 15 free throws in the game before sinking its final four to finish 9-for-19 from the line.  The Blue Jays were 15-of-21 at the charity stripe. 

The Shorewomen return to action Thursday with a 7:00 p.m. Centennial Conference game at Haverford.

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