Women’s basketball on fire despite heartbreaker

The Lions offense averages 66 points in its first two games of the year. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

In sports, it’s hard to say whether there is such a thing as an encouraging loss, as the women’s basketball team showed while putting forth strong performances in its opening weekend, which featured both a win and a last-second defeat.

Though the Lions fell just short to Haverford College in a 50-49 defeat that came down to the last shot, coach Dawn Henderson was very happy with her team’s effort this weekend and expressed great optimism moving forward.

After shooting the lights out in their season debut en route to an 81-64 victory against Lynchburg College, where every Lion scored at least three points, the team showed its ability and willingness to battle until the final whistle, regardless of whether shots were falling that night.

“We had a lot of fight. It was a physical, exhausting game that went back and forth,” Henderson said. “Both teams’ legs were tired, and some of the shots that were falling last night weren’t falling tonight. Either team could have gotten down on themselves. It was like a prize-fight. No one could throw the knockout punch, but really what happened is neither team would allow the knockout punch to come.”

The Lions had a lot of quality contributors this weekend, but Kylie O’Donnell was on fire. Through the first two contests, O’Donnell averaged 19.5 points per game while shooting a blistering 13-18 from the field, connecting on both three-point attempts and netting all 11 free throws.

“Kylie O’Donnell practically won the game for us at the end,”  Henderson said.

After Haverford took a 48-46 lead on a go-ahead three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining in regulation, O’Donnell drove the lane and scored. She was fouled on the play and made the fre throw, completing a three-point play to give the Lions the lead with 13 seconds left. But Haverford recaptured the lead for good on a jumper with 7 seconds left.

“We played with a lot of confidence and showed we have a lot of fortitude,” Henderson said. “Overall, it was a really good weekend. I can’t remember the last time we scored 80 points. So, that was great. And defensively there were a lot of really good things I saw. You’re going to have games where you have to grind it out and grab one more rebound or make one more free throw. Credit Haverford for making one more play than us tonight.”

The Lions will be back in action Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. as they host Moravian College in their home opener.