Rybak goes for 14 and seven
WESTMINSTER, Md. – Meg Biggart's (Darien, Conn./Darien) only shot of the game counted most, nailing a 3-pointer one step over half-court as the first-half clock expired that proved to be the difference in McDaniel's 59-56 victory over Washington (Md.) in the Centennial Conference (CC) women's basketball opener for both teams on Tuesday.
Steph Perez (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin East) led the Green Terror (3-1, 1-0 CC) in the scoring column with a career-best 18 points while Rachael Rybak (Reisterstown, Md./Franklin) also added a career high with 14 points to go with seven rebounds and three assists.
Erin Fitzgerald led the Shorewomen (1-1, 0-1 CC) with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Sally O'Donnell added 11 points and eight boards and had a chance to send the game to overtime but her 3-pointer in the left-corner came up short as the final horn sounded.
Fitzgerald opened the game with a single free throw 15 seconds into the game but Perez counted with the first of seven McDaniel triples and the hosts never trailed.
Five straight points from Perez helped key an 12-0 run that stretched the advantage to 12-1 just 3:42 into the game.
A Fitzgerald layup and O'Donnell trey sliced the deficit to six two minutes later but Perez countered with a 3-pointer of her own and Allie Eader (Ijamsville, Md./Linganore) canned two free throws to push the lead back to 11 with 13:23 showing.
Nikki Piper (Clarksville, Md./River Hill) pushed the lead to 25-11 on a fast-break layup with 8:30 showing – the largest lead of the half until the Green Terror got the ball back with 3.4 seconds left in the stanza and Biggart dribbled up court and heaved a shot from the far-right wing that beat the horn for a 45-29 halftime advantage.
Perez hit a jumper eight seconds into the second half to stretch the lead to its largest at 18 before Washington slowly started chipping away.
Trailing 49-32 after a Perez spinning layup with 17:09 to play, Kelly Mitchell hit the first of two free throws and Washington scored the game's next 10 points to trim the deficit to seven with 12:40 to play.
Two Rybak free throws halted a 5-minute, 16-second scoring drought and Perez hit a layup at the 11:09 mark to push the lead back to double digits.
Another 7-0 burst trimmed the margin to 53-49 with 8:44 showing but Eader nailed a trey with 7:14 on the clock to push the advantage back to seven.
A Latisha Pledger layup with 3:50 to play made it a 57-56 game but Rybak answered on the Green Terror's next possession with a jumper to set the game's final margin.
Emma Wingerd (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) finished with six points and 10 rebounds while Eader added eight points and seven rebounds.
McDaniel returns to action at home against Swarthmore on Tuesday. Game time is 7 p.m.
Allie Eader talks about being proud of the entire team.