McDaniel College’s basketball seasons end with sweep vs. Swarthmore
By Justin Fitzgerald
Carroll County Times|
Feb 22, 2020 at 7:40 PM
Every time McDaniel’s women’s basketball team huddled during Saturday’s against Swarthmore, the Green Terror broke with the same word — toughness.
But after a brutal first half in which they shot just 15%, McDaniel needed some toughness to get back into the game. The Garnet hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second half, and a layup from Elizabeth Stiles gave Swarthmore a 30-18 lead with 6:20 remaining in the third quarter. McDaniel rallied to tie the game, but it wasn’t enough in the end as Swarthmore pulled out a 50-45 win.
“We could’ve hung our heads and it could’ve been a double-digit game,” said first-year coach Christin Gowan. “But they really stuck their heels in the ground and were determined to fight back and get back in the game.”
With the deficit growing in the third quarter, the Green Terror’s press helped them get back into the game. The Terror trimmed the lead to 36-32 by the end of the third quarter, and eventually tied the game on a tough finish from Mallory Conroy with under a minute remaining.
Swarthmore’s Kendall Tribus found a wide-open Christina Holmgren for a layup after that, and tough defense from the Garnet led to a McDaniel miss on the other end. Swarthmore hit three of its last four free throws to close out the victory.
The Garnet (13-12, 10-10 in the Centennial Conference) clinched the fifth seed in the upcoming conference tournament, and travel to Dickinson on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, McDaniel (10-15, 6-14) will miss the postseason for a fourth straight year, but there’s likely potential to be better next year. The Green Terror lose six seniors, including leading scorer Anna Mondoro and third leading scorer Liv Storer, but will return five players who played at least 10 minutes per game.
Freshmen Mehl and Conroy led McDaniel with 13 and 10 points Saturday, and Josey Klingenberg (Manchester Valley) ran the offense down the stretch.
Mehl hopes that experience will make a difference next year, especially in close games. This year, McDaniel went 4-11 in games decided by 10 points or less.
“Next season we need to learn how to play for a full 40 minutes, not just 30 or 20,” Mehl said. “We need to learn how to play all four quarters.”
The Green Terror men are hoping something similar will happen after another tough season. Their season came to a close Saturday against No. 1-ranked Swarthmore, 72-49.
Senior Aaron Washington, who averaged a team-high 15 points per game last year, played just three games before being dismissed from the team, and coach Kevin Curley said his team was never fully healthy for the rest of the season. Six-foot-8 center Kaelen Kanealey missed six weeks with mono, and seniors Sam Beverly and Caleb Johnson also missed time, Curley said.
That showed as the season wore on, as McDaniel started 3-2 before limping to a 6-19 finish (2-16 Centennial). The Green Terror played eight freshmen and sophomores, which made for a lot of growing pains.
“A lot of it is new for them,” Curley said of his underclassmen. “Just paying attention to those details and being on point defensively and offensively is key. ... You’re not always sure what you’re supposed to do which makes it difficult to play and play freely.”
Still, Curley think he has a strong sophomore class, including Dragan Hornatko, who scored a team-high 11 in the loss. Hornatko, Kanealey, Josh Sproul, Mike Wallace, and Josh Arruda could form the core of next year’s team, and Curley said he was also impressed with freshman Che Colbert, who was playing well before missing the last five games because of injury.