Washington women are playoff-bound after 5th straight win

CHESTERTOWN — A five-game winning streak, punctuated by Saturday’s 70-66 upset of Dickinson in overtime, is sending Washington to the Centennial Conference women’s basketball tournament for the third year in a row.

With two games remaining, including tonight’s contest at home against No. 12-ranked Johns Hopkins (17-1 CC, 21-2), Washington (10-8, 13-10) sits fourth in the 11-school conference.

The Shore ladies’ regular-season finale is Feb. 17 at Franklin & Marshall.

Off to a 2-6 start in the new year, which included a 55-38 loss at Dickinson on Jan. 13, the Shore ladies were on the outside looking in. Their fortunes started to turn with a noteworthy win against Haverford’s women on Jan. 31.

Since then, everything seems to be coming up roses for the locals.

Pun intended, seeing as today is Valentine’s Day.

By far, Washington’s biggest win to date is Saturday’s 70-66 extra-time triumph over Dickinson, which has secured the third seed in the six-team conference tournament that begins next week.

Serena Pluta, one of two Shore seniors who were honored in a pre-game ceremony, was spectacular with game highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Karry Kelliher and Kaitlyn Boggs (seven rebounds) added 12 points apiece, senior Kaleigh White scored six of her nine points in overtime, and all nine Shore ladies on the roster contributed to the win.

Dickinson (13-5 CC, 16-7) opened the game on a 10-4 run and would push its lead to as many as 12 points, 35-23, with just under three minutes remaining in the first half.

Washington scored seven of the next nine points to close to 37-30 at the break.

A pair of Lindsey Hollenshead free throws opened the second-half scoring for the Red Devils, but then the locals asserted themselves with 14 unanswered points starting with back-to-back threes from Pluta and Abby Meredith.

Boggs’ layup 2 minutes, 34 seconds into the third quarter, set up by a Pluto steal, gave Washington a 40-39 lead — its first lead since 4-2 with only 57 seconds elapsed.

Kiersten Rose punctuated the 14-0 run with a jumper to make it 44-39.

The locals carried a 49-44 lead into the fourth quarter after Dickinson’s women missed all 14 of their field goal attempts in the third.

The Red Devils battled back to deadlock at 56 on a Jenna Weinstein layup with 2:07 remaining in regulation and pulled ahead, 58-56, on a Victoria Zerbe jumper with just over a minute to go.

Zerbe led all players with eight points in the fourth quarter on 4-of-5 shooting from the field.

Boggs tied it up again at 58 on a lay-in with 7 seconds to play in regulation.

Dickinson had a chance to win in regulation but Clair Marion’s jumper just before the buzzer was off the mark, sending the game into OT.

The score was tied for the last time at 63 with 1:16 to play in overtime.

White buried a three with 56 seconds remaining in the five-minute extra period to restore the locals’ lead for good, 66-63.

After that, Pluto made four free throws in a row to extend the spread to 70-63 before a meaningless Dickinson 3-pointer finished the scoring.

This was the third loss in a row for the Red Devils, who were led by senior Hollenshead’s double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds. Marion also contributed 18 points, along with six steals and six assists.

NEXT UP: Washington hosts Hopkins at 6 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 14) for its last home game of the regular season.

All Centennial Conference schools wrap up their regular season Saturday, Feb. 17.

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