Dunlap Sparks Second-Half Rally In W&J Victory
WASHINGTON, Pa. -- Sophomore center Valerie Dunlap (Hostetter, Pa./Latrobe) scored 15 of her game-high 17 points during the second half as the Washington & Jefferson College women’s basketball team rallied for a 56-51 victory over Westminster in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference opener for both teams Wednesday night at the Henry Memorial Center.
Dunlap connected on 5-of-6 shots from both the field and the free-throw line during the final 20 minutes to help the Presidents (4-1, 1-0 PAC) erase a five-point halftime deficit. W&J won its conference opener for a third consecutive season.
Westminster (1-4, 0-1 PAC) scored the game’s first five points and maintained its lead throughout the entire first half. Guard Danielle Gilmore gave the Titans a 25-20 edge after 20 minutes with a driving layup as time expired.
Dunlap scored the Presidents’ first six points of the second stanza to cut Westminster’s advantage to one and gave W&J its first lead of the game at the 15:41 mark with a jumper off the glass.
The Titans rallied with an 11-4 run during the next five minutes before back-to-back baskets by freshman Ashley Mikelonis (South Park, Pa./South Park) and senior Emily Abraham (Canfield, Ohio/Boardman) knotted the game.
Dunlap collected an offensive rebound and putback to put W&J in front 50-48 but a pair of free throws from Gilmore on the Titans’ next possession tied the game once again.
Junior Chelsea Apke (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) provided the answer for the Presidents with back-to-back layups to put W&J ahead by four points. The second basket came with nine seconds left after receiving a handoff from Dunlap on a perfectly executed in-bounds play. After a Westminster turnover with 10 seconds left, Mikelonis sealed the game with a pair of free throws.
In addition to her 17 points, Dunlap pulled down a game-best 14 rebounds and recorded a pair of blocks. Abraham netted nine points off the bench, while Apke tallied nine points and eight rebounds.
W&J shot 35 percent (21-59) from the field during the game, including a 13-of-29 (.448) in the second half and held a 46-27 advantage on the boards. The Titans, who were led by 10 points from Jenna Grandy, shot 36 percent (19-52).
W&J travels to Thiel Saturday for a 1:00 pm PAC game with the Tomcats.