Lebanon Valley spoils E-town's January to remember
The last stand of Elizabethtown College's women's basketball team Saturday was a long one.
It included three 3-point tries and two tough offensive rebounds dug out of traffic.
But no points.
And when it was over, only 10 seconds, and very little suspense, remained.
The Blue Jays' January to remember was sullied only a little by a 65-62 loss to nationally-ranked Lebanon Valley in a Commonwealth Conference game at Thompson Gym.
It was a measure of how far E-town has come in 2013.
The Jays lost to Commonwealth powers Messiah and LVC by a combined 42 points around Thanksgiving, on their way to a 1-7 start under first-year coach Sherri Gorman.
Last week they won at Messiah, ranked fifth in the country, to ratify a seven-game win streak.
"Obviously they're disappointed,'' Gorman said of her players afterward. "You don't fight that hard and come up short without feeling it. Hopefully tomorrow, they'll be able to step back and appreciated the good things they did.''
While E-town (9-8, 7-5) has the better women's hoop history (including two national championships), seventh-year coach Todd Goclowski has built a beast in Annville. LVC (16-3, 10-2) has beaten the Jays 15 straight times.
This one wasn't easy. The Dutchwomen feature a low-post game with Renee Fritz, a 6-1 senior from Lampeter-Strasburg, and Caitlin Bach, a 6-0 junior with shades of Kevin McHale in her game.
LVC got what it wanted, which was mostly Bach on the block in racing to a 10-5 lead.
But then Gorman extended her defense, and the Jays got after the ball a bit. It soon became clear this was no mismatch, in terms of athleticism or anything else.
Lebanon Valley had 14 turnovers and got to the foul line just twice in an entertaining, high-level first half that decided nothing, LVC leading at the break 33-31.
They stayed toe-to-toe most of the way. But while E-town is scrappy and quick enough at this level -- LVC is ranked 15th nationally -- it is probably a weapon or two short.
The Jays led 49-46, on a drive by the relentless Taylor Kreider, with 11 minutes left. But then they didn't score for nearly five minutes, as LVC rode Fritz and Bach on a 12-0 run to make it 58-49.
It wasn't over. E-town got points from Kreider, Taylor Alwine and Kendra Beittel, and turnovers from its panic-press, to get as close as 63-59 with a minute left
LVC missed twice at the line at :34.9, and Gorman called time.
Which brings us to the aforementioned last stand.
"We did want to try a three,'' she said. "We got three great looks at it.''
The Jays probably can't get out-rebounded by 13 (46-33) and win. They certainly can't make just six of 14 free throws.
"In a game like this, a few possessions can be make or break,'' Gorman said. "That's why it's a great game.''
Bach scored 21, with nine boards. Fritz added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Kreider scored 14 with 11 rebounds for E-town. Beittel added 11, but she and Kreider made just nine of 30 shots. Alwine scored 10, on 5-of-7 shooting.
The Jays host Lancaster Bible at 6 p.m. Monday.n