TOWSON, Md. — It wasn't until the fourth quarter this afternoon that Goucher saw a glimpse of the same team that prevailed by 22 points the first time the Gophers faced Elizabethtown this season back on Jan. 16.
The Blue Jays, 66-44 winners over head coach Patrick Daniel's squad in the earlier meeting, led by only two points after three quarters in today's rematch in the Decker Sports & Recreation Center, but then tallied the first 12 points of the fourth period and were on their way to a 78-58 Landmark Conference victory.
"The defense let us down in the fourth quarter," Daniel commented after the game. "We did not get stops, which led to us not operating on the offensive end. You have to play 40 minutes to win at this level and we only played 30 minutes.
"We will be better in our next game."
Despite falling behind 9-2 at the outset, Goucher battled all the way back and pulled even with Elizabethtown at 14-14 when Kristi Kozlowski (Kingsville, Md./Redeemer Classical Christian) found Amaka Ezeani (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) down low for an easy bucket with 47 seconds remaining in the first quarter. That left the Blue Jays (16-6, 8-4 Landmark) enough time to regain the lead on a layup by Rachel Liszkiewicz before the period ended.
The Gophers (8-13, 3-9 Landmark) twice fell behind by seven points in the second quarter, but by halftime, they trailed by only four, 33-29.
By scoring the first seven points in the third quarter, Elizabethtown padded its lead, which grew at 40-29 when Abby Beyer connected from 3-point range 1:26 into the period. Over the next eight minutes, Goucher went on a 23-11 run which featured Ezeani scoring baskets down low on four consecutive possessions, each time the assist going to a different player.
Ezeani's seventh field goal since halftime put the Gophers ahead 52-51 with 24 seconds remaining in the third quarter, but thanks to a three-point play by Emily Martin with :09 showing on the clock, the Blue Jays entered the final period on top 54-52.
It took 4:47 for Goucher to score its first points in the fourth quarter, a layup by India Perkins (Brentwood, Md./Bladensburg).
Ezeani scored her final points with 4:21 remaining and picked up her fifth foul with just over a minute left to play. She wound up supplying the Gophers with a game-high total of 27 points on a 13-for-19 effort from the field.
Goucher's only other double-digit scorer was Briana Bull (Baltimore, Md./Owings Mills), who delivered 10 points, six rebounds, eight assists, four steals and a pair of blocked shots coming off the bench to play 34 minutes.
In last month's 66-44 loss to the Blue Jays, the Gophers couldn't contain Rachel Forjan, who erupted for 29 points. Today, they held her to five points through three quarters, but the senior guard accounted for 11 of her team's 24 points in the final period.
The leading scorer for Elizabethtown today was Beyer with 26 points.
Goucher, which saw its three-game winning streak against Landmark Conference opponents snapped today, will attempt to start another one when it welcomes Catholic to the Decer SRC Wednesday at 7 p.m.