WILMINGTON – Ursuline’s basketball team this season has featured four new starters, so when the Raiders were in need of points at the end of their game Dec. 29 against Archbishop Spalding (Md.), it was not surprising to see the ball in the hands of the lone returning player, Maggie Connolly. But as she drove the baseline with the clock ticking and Ursuline trailing by two, Connolly spotted freshman Lauren Dorsey alone in the corner. Dorsey calmly sent the ball up, and as the buzzer sounded the rock dropped through the net, giving the Raiders a 42-41 win.
The win sent the Raiders into the fifth-place game of the St. Francis Healthcare Cup on Saturday at the Diamond State Classic. This bracket is the main draw of the Diamond State, held each year at the St. E Center.
The Raiders found some offense after a sluggish first quarter, taking a 21-12 lead into halftime. But the Cavaliers bounced back in the third. Terra Dzambo opened the third with a three-pointer, although Abby Rzucidlo got those back right away on a three-point play. Connolly added a three-point shot, but Spalding turned to standout Taysha Bender.
Bender scored nine of her game-high 15 points in the third, including her only three-pointer of the afternoon, and the Ursuline lead was a single point, 31-30, after three. The Cavaliers took their first lead since early in the first quarter when Morgan Pennick hit a pair of free throws.
The teams traded leads a few times and showed each other their long-distance acumen. Allie Olmstead made a triple while being knocked to the floor, but Pennick matched that the next time down the floor. Olmstead, not to be outdone, nailed another one, also while being bumped, giving the Raiders a 39-37 advantage with 2:15 remaining.
Back-to-back runners by Bender and Ryann Evans turned that into a two-point Spalding lead with 70 seconds to go. The Raiders were called for a three-second violation with 51 seconds to go, and the Cavaliers ran more than 40 seconds off the clock before Ursuline fouled a player. A missed front end of a one-and-one bounced to Connolly, setting up the final dramatic play. It was Dorsey’s lone field goal of the afternoon, and she made it count.
Olmstead finished with three three-pointers and 12 points to lead the Raiders, while Connolly added 10. Ursuline (4-2) will meet St. Rose (N.J.) on Saturday at 11:15 a.m. in the fifth-place game of the St. Francis Healthcare Cup.
The Cavaliers face St. Anthony (Calif.) on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in the seventh-place game.