Women’s Basketball Takes Home Second Consecutive Conference Crown

By Zion Williams, Staff Writer

The women’s basketball team playing at the Centennial Conference title game on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023 (Photo Borna Ganji/The Gettysburgian)

Advancing to the Centennial Conference title game for the sixth consecutive season, the Bullets dominated Washington College 70-40 on Friday, Feb. 24, earning a chance to defend their title against rival Johns Hopkins.

Fans returned to Bream Gym in full voice, wearing all black to match the blackout theme. The Bullets controlled the game from the beginning as the tip-off fell to forward Emily Violante ’25. Taking advantage of the first possession, guard Mackenzie Szlosek ’25 scored from the three-point line to give the Bullets the early lead. The Shorewomen failed to respond on the following possession, as forward Caitlyn Priore ’24 played strong defense in the paint.

Throughout the next three Bullets’ possessions, Violante knocked down a free throw, guard Alayna Arnolie ’26 swished a three-pointer, and guard Meghan Barbera ’23 downed a jumper, making it 9-0 with 7:47 left in the first quarter. The Shorewomen held that score for two minutes until forward Shinya Lee ’25 converted a layup following a threaded bounce pass from Arnolie.

Capitalizing on an offensive rebound, Serena Pluta opened the scoring for the Shorewomen with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter. The Bullets continued their momentum into the second quarter. The Shorewomen could not match the offensive firepower of the Bullets as Szlosek hit another triple to end the half 37-14.

The Shorewomen opened the third quarter by scoring six points and holding the Bullets to eight, but the home team’s stellar performance in the first half meant they still had a 28-point lead. Szlosek knocked down two free throws, and the Shorewomen failed to get a shot off on the last possession, ending the third quarter down 52-25.

The Bullets closed the game with a three-pointer from guard Courtney Kelly ’26, finalizing the score at 70-40. Szlosek led the Bullets with 21 points, two assists, and eight rebounds. Arnolie contributed 13 points, two assists, and one rebound. Violante had nine points, one assist, and four rebounds. 

The Bullets then moved on to face Johns Hopkins in the conference title game. They faced the challenge of defending their throne. 

“We definitely did feel a certain level of pressure going into the game. It was a big game that we obviously didn’t want to lose,” said Violante, sophomore forward for the Bullets. “However, we’ve all played in big games before, and we knew that if we kept our poise and played our game, we would win.”

Violante opened the scoring 1:23 into the game with a strong move and jumper in the paint. The Blue Jays failed to respond on the following possession, and Arnolie doubled the lead. Hopkins tied the game on their next two possessions with two finishes in the paint by Olivia Parisi and Kendall Dunham.

After being down 16-13 in the second quarter, the Blue Jays went on an 8-0 run led by Parisi with six points during this stretch. With 3:54 left in the first half, the Bullets battled back, going on an 8-2 run of their own with buckets from Lee, Priore, and guard AB Holsinger ’26. Violante credited their defensive focus, ending the half up 24-23.

“We had already played Hopkins twice during the regular season, so we were well prepared and knew what was expected,” said Violante. “The coaches walked us through everything we needed to know before the game. Hopkins is a talented team, but we knew if we played great defense, our offense would come to us.”

The women's basketball team playing at the Centennial Conference title game on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023 (Photo Borna Ganji/The Gettysburgian)

The women’s basketball team playing on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023 (Photo Borna Ganji/The Gettysburgian)

The Blue Jays took back the lead on their opening possession in the third quarter. However, the lead did not last for long, as Violante converted a layup after grabbing an offensive rebound. With both sides displaying outstanding defense, the score stalled for three minutes. Arnolie broke the deadlock from the three-point line after a steal by Violante, with 6:04 remaining in the third quarter.

Heading into the final quarter, the Bullets led 43-36. They extended their lead to 15 points, the largest lead of the game, when Lee knocked down one free throw with 2:54 remaining. Hopkins tried to battle back, but the offensive prowess of the Bullets proved too much. Outscoring their own first half by 17 points, the Bullets reclaimed Centennial Conference glory, downing Hopkins 65-52.

“The win meant so much to our team. We have been working for this moment since way back in September when we first began our conditioning and lifting sessions,” said Violante. “We saw months of hard work pay off when the final buzzer went off and we could all celebrate on the court with each other.”

“I’ve only been in the program for two years, but something special about our team is how much we love one another and how close we are,” said Violante. “It’s true that your friendships off the court translate to chemistry on the court.”

The Bullets reclaimed the Centennial Conference title, but their season is not over, as they face SUNY New Paltz in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament on Friday, Mar. 3.

Statistics courtesy of Gettysburg College Athletic Communications. 

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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