FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Curry College women's basketball team fell to Widener University 82-65 in each team's first game in the 2018 Cruzin' Classic in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., presented by Trip Sports. The score does not tell the whole story, as the Colonels were able to hang tough with the Pride, but were outscored 24-13 in the final quarter of the defeat. The loss drops the Colonels to 4-5 overall while the Pride sit at 11-2 after the victory.
Curry got out to an early lead as a three-pointer by freshman Amanda Leal (Tyngsboro, Mass.) started the scoring. Widener had some shooting struggles in their own first possession, air-balling one shot after barely nicking the rim to prevent a 24-second violation. They would score, however, to bring the score to 3-2 after a good jumper from Erin Phelan (Downington, Pa.). The first quarter was ruled by Curry's aggressive defense, who forced eight Widener turnovers in the period, including three steals by junior guard Sam Bamford (Easton, Mass.). Curry would see their lead grow to 14-2 after a made shot behind the arc by senior Emily Irwin (Billerica, Mass.), but Widener would keep the game close with some timely buckets of their own by guards Emma Gardy (Warrington, Pa.) and Madison Ireland (Garnet Valley, Pa.) to cut the deficit to four at 16-12 to finish the first frame.
The second quarter would remain tight, but whistles slowed the action as both teams caught the foul bug. 22 free throws were attempted in the period, as the Colonels shot 11-12 from the charity stripe and the Pride went 7-10. Momentum had swung away from the Colonels when Bamford took what looked to be a charge with under 1:30 to go in the half, but a questionable no-call led to an easy basket for the Pride, to stretch their lead to six at 33-27. Widener would take the six point advantage into the locker room, after each team would convert on a pair of free throws to make the score 35-29.
The teams would combine to make their first six shots out of the break, pulling the score to 42-36 in favor of Widener. Three minutes into the frame, Curry took advantage of an offensive foul call which erased what would have been a pair for Widener by putting in a basket of their own to cut the deficit to three. However, Widener would score the next six points to open up a nine point lead at 50-41 with 4:30 left in the third. Irwin and freshman Peyton Perine (Fairfax, Va.) would chip away at the lead, but Devan Rimmer (Perkasie, Pa.) would post six more points of her own in the frame to keep Widener's lead at six heading into the fourth quarter with the scoreboard showing 58-52.
The Pride would take control as the final frame opened, using a well-balanced offense to score the first nine points of the period, on buckets by Phelan, Rimmer and Emily Hardy (Lewisberry, Pa.), to stretch their lead to 15. Irwin would help Curry's case for a comeback, pouring in six fourth quarter points to bring her to a game-high 29 on the day. However, this would not be enough, as a block by Charlotte Stern (Voorhees, N.J.) sealed the game in favor of the Pride.
Rimmer led the way for Widener, finishing with 24 points on the day, while Ireland led all players with 11 assists. Kyra Schenk (Pottsville, Pa.) collected 8 boards, also a game high. To go along with her 29 points, Irwin posted 6 assists and 6 rebounds, leading Curry in both numbers.
Curry will stay in Fort Lauderdale to play tomorrow afternoon at 4:00pm against Simpson College (Iowa). Widener returns to action versus Sage College (N.Y.) at 2:00pm tomorrow afternoon, also in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.