PHILADELPHIA - Career win 250 was a memorable one for Saint Joseph's women's basketball head coach Cindy Griffin as her Hawks upset #5 Maryland, 50-49, Saturday afternoon at Hagane Arena. Backed by a game-high 18 point performance from redshirt senior Chatilla van Grinsven, the Hawks posted their first win over a nationally ranked team since the 2007-08 season and their highest victory over a ranked squad since they topped #3 Montclair State, 68-67, on March 11, 1977.
Coming off a thrilling last second win at Drexel on Wednesday, the Hawks (2-1) and Terps battled down to the wire at Hawk Hill as the lead changed hands nine times.
Trailing 47-38 with under nine minutes to play, the Hawks used a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to take their first lead of the second half on a layup by junior Ilze Gotfrida at 4:21. Saint Joseph's defense held Maryland to 1-for-5 from the floor and three turnovers during that stretch, while the Hawks converted on six of their next seven possessions.
Leading by one, SJU's defense continued to make plays over the final minutes. Causing a pair of turnovers, the Hawks' strong defense allowed them to maintain a one-point lead heading into the final 30 seconds.
Off a foul, SJU senior Ashley Prim went to the line for a one-and-one with 25 seconds remaining. The Hawks' co-captain missed the shot, despite an apparent lane violation, allowing Maryland a chance to take the lead.
Following a Terrapin timeout, Maryland's Alyssa Thomas missed a shot from inside the paint, only to grab the offensive rebound. Thomas went up for the put back, but was met by a block from van Grinsven as the ball landed out of bounds with 0.5 seconds to play.
Without a timeout to call, Maryland inbounded to Tianna Hawkins in the corner, only to have her shot bounce off the rim as the buzzer sounded, setting off a celebration in Hagan Arena.
"This has been a great week for this program," said Griffin. "I think we're not perfect, but we're finding ways to win. I think we're tough. I think our players are tough."
In the first half, Saint Josephs took a quick 10-4 edge on a Prim three-pointer just over four minutes into the contest. The Terrapins responded and the two squads would be tied seven times over the next 13 minutes.
With the score tied 30-30, Maryland would tally the final two baskets of the half to take a 35-30 edge into halftime.
The Hawks fought back early in the second half, twice cutting the lead to just one. Following a pair of free throws from SJU redshirt sophomore Natasha Cloud that made it a 39-38 game, Maryland used an 8-0 run to open a 47-38 edge before the final thrilling minutes.
For the game, the Hawks shot 35.7 percent from the floor (20-of-56), 30.8 percent from three-point range (4-of-13) and 54.5 percent from the foul line (6-of-11). At the other end, Maryland converted just 33.9 percent from the field (19-of-56), and hit 3-of-9 from behind the arc and 8-of-12 from the foul line.
The Terps finished with a 47-27 edge in rebounding, but turned the ball over 19 times, compared to SJU's 12.
Individually, van Grinsven finished with eight rebounds to go with her 18 points, three assists, three blocked shots and three steals.J unior guard Erin Shields was the only other hawk in double figures, scoring 10 points, while Gotfrida and Cloud added eight points apiece. Cloud added a game-high seven assists, while Prim finished with three assists and six points.
At the other end, Thomas finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds, while Laurin Mincy added 14 points and seven boards.
The Hawks return to action Tuesday when they host Syracuse at 5 p.m.