The Westminster Owls found the necessary ingredients to beat a good Linganore team last night. And it all began with confidence.
It was actually the end when the No. 15 Owls (15-3) showed their poise, erasing an eight-point deficit in the last 1:45 to come away with a 70-66 win over the four-time defending Central Maryland Conference champions. Strong defense and clutch shooting also played a role down the stretch.
The visiting Lancers (13-4) appeared to be in control when sophomore Cara Consuegra hit a baseline jumper with 2:10 left to give them a 66-58 lead. As it turned out, the rest of the night would be the Owls'.
After senior forward Beth Lister (17 points) scored inside with 1:45 left to cut the Linganore lead to 66-60, Cassandra Conklin and Lauren Kadlubowski went to work.
Conklin beat the Linganore press before going in for a layup to make it 66-62. She had a steal and then found Kadlubowski, who drove baseline before finishing with a reverse layup -- 66-64. Conklin pulled down a rebound with :55 left and Jill Ibex hit a short turnaround jumper 10 seconds later to tie the score at 66.
Linganore guard Mimi Ritter (16 points, eight assists) just crossed midcourt when Kadlubowski got a hand in to knock the ball away. It resulted in an uncontested layup and Alyson Young added the final touches with two free throws with two seconds left.
"I just got down and played some good hard defense," Kadlubowski said of the steal. "I was looking to stop her from penetrating and knew she was looking left with Cara [Consuegra] on that side so I played her that way. Then the ball hit my fingertips and I saw it out there and my eyes got wide open, this was my chance."
After a 10-0 start, the Owls were 4-3 in their past seven games going into last night, including a 76-59 loss at Linganore.
"We just played with a lot of confidence in the last four minutes. We lost a little confidence and are now getting back to where we need to be. We still need some work," said Westminster coach Bernie Koontz. "This was a real big win for the kids against a quality team and we earned some respect back."
Koontz got big minutes from a lot of players.
Courtney Wunderlich played a scrappy second quarter to help the Owls pull even at 34 by the half after trailing, 25-12, at the end of one. The Lancers' early lead was largely due to the outside shooting of junior Melissa Kelly, who hit four straight three-pointers and scored 15 of her 22 points in the quarter.
Young hit two long jumpers late in the third quarter and sophomore guard Kim Frame, who began the season on the junior varsity, played well late.
"A lot of people came through," Koontz said. "We whittled away and got even at the half. Then just kept working, hit some shots, got some good defense and made them force shots and didn't allow them second shots."