GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Sophomore Ashley Gehrin(Chester, N.J./West Morris Mendham) scored the game-winning lay-up with 21 seconds left and Gettysburg College erased an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to pull off a dramatic 71-70 victory over 14th-ranked Muhlenberg College inside Bream Gym Thursday evening.
Gettysburg (20-2, 16-1 CC), which won its 10th-straight game, extended its lead over Muhlenberg (20-3, 15-3 CC) and Haverford College (19-4, 15-3 CC) for the top spot in the Centennial Conference standings with just three regular season games remaining.
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Gehrin's game-winning bucket came after a furious rally by the hosts. A five-point halftime lead dissipated in the third quarter and the Mules extended their advantage to 64-53 following a lay-up by Brandi Vallely with 6:44 to play.
Senior Emily Gibbons (Annapolis, Md./Severn School) and junior Emma Dorshimer (Jenkintown, Pa./Jenkintown) were waiting to check back into the game when the comeback began.
"I remember sitting at the scorer's table getting ready to check in and (Emma) Dorshimer and I just looked at each other to say we're not losing this game," said Gibbons, who posted her 35th career double-double with 13 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. "I think everyone stepped up when they needed to step up in that last quarter."
Before Gettysburg's top scorers returned, Gehrin and junior Teal Tasker (Chambersburg, Pa./Mercersburg Academy) knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to slice the deficit down to five.
The Mules still led by seven following a jumper by Chelsea Gary with 5:07 to go, but Gibbons put the team on her shoulders with two big offensive rebounds and putbacks. Following another bucket by Gary, Gibbons knocked down a jumper to pull the Bullets within three (70-67) with 2:03 left.
Muhlenberg came up empty on its next possession and Gibbons came up clutch again, drawing Gary's fifth foul and canning two free throws with 75 seconds remaining.
Gibbons grabbed the defensive board on a missed lay-up by Brandi Vallely and the Bullets set up the offense, entrusting Gehrin with the final shot. The sophomore swooped in from the right wing and converted the left-handed lay-up to lift her team in front for the final time.
"They got the ball to me and we wanted to run a ball screen on the wing," said Gehrin, who finished with a team-high 15 points. "I knew with Chelsea Gary out it would be easier to get to the basket so I just drove and was lucky to get the shot to go in."
Vallely's final lay-up attempt was off the mark and Gibbons pulled down the carom as time expired.
Senior Kendra Meredith (Boyds, Md./Northwest) finished with a dozen points while going 5-of-7 from the field. Dorshimer added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Rachel Plotke knocked down six three-pointers on the way to a game-high 26 for Muhlenberg. Vallely posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while dishing out six assists. Gary also picked up a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards.
The opening quarter played out as expected between the teams as neither side gained a significant advantage. Each team's largest advantage was three and a three-pointer by Plotke tied the score 14-14 heading into the next period.
Gettysburg led throughout most of the second quarter and jumped in front by six after a four-point spurt by Gehrin with just over a minute left. A lay-up by Gibbons gave the hosts a 33-28 advantage at the break.
The Bullets led by as many as six in the third quarter, but Muhlenberg stayed aggressive and out-scored the home team 28-18 thanks to a 16-4 advantage between the lanes. A steal and fast-break lay-up by Sarah Dilly gave the Mules a 56-51 lead heading into the final decisive frame.
Gettysburg finished 24-of-66 (36.4 percent) from the floor and hit 18-of-21 (85.7 percent) free throws. The Bullets narrowly won the rebounding battle 48-45, while the two teams combined for just nine turnovers in the game. Muhlenberg finished 28-of-78 (35.9 percent) from the floor overall.
Combined with its 67-62 win over Muhlenberg on Jan. 11, Gettysburg pulled off its first regular-season sweep of the Mules since the conference instituted a home-and-home schedule.
Gettysburg visits Bryn Mawr College (1-21, 0-16 CC) Saturday at 2 p.m.