It’s time for the hotly-contested women’s basketball tournament, the Pinebrook Invitational, and the Panthers are determined to beat rival Danbury. With Mark coaching, Maggie refereeing, Caruso Construction sponsoring the team, and Bruce doing the announcing, everyone’s pulling for the Panthers. Even … Emma’s mom Gwen? Much to Emma’s surprise, Gwen has joined the team. Convinced that it’s no coincidence her mom joined just days after Emma broke the news that she and Mark were back together, Emma becomes certain that Gwen, who never liked Mark the first time Emma dated him, is trying to break them up.
To keep an eye on her meddling mom, Emma is forced to take drastic measures: she joins the team, despite her profound distaste for athletic wear or, frankly, athletics. But when game day arrives with no misbehavior from Gwen, Emma finally apologizes to her mom, thinking she must have had it wrong. Then Gwen (basketball name: Magic Johnson) gives a pre-game speech admitting that she joined the team to investigate Emma and Mark’s relationship, and drops the bomb that when Mark proposed 15 years before, not only had she counseled Emma to turn him down, but she also lied when he showed up at the door that night, telling him Emma had already left for China and never telling Emma he’d come by.
With that revelation hanging in the air, the game gets off to a rocky start for the Panthers. Gwen and Emma’s bickering is driving Mark so crazy he tries to antagonize Maggie into throwing him out of the game. Unfortunately, one of his remarks hits a little too close to home for Referee Maggie, who’s been clocking a lot of hours at the hospital and becoming anxious that Charlotte is growing less interested in nursing, growing out of her favorite pajamas and just, well, growing up. During a time out, everyone manages to regroup: Bruce manages to calm Maggie down with the assurance that there are many more amazing milestones to come with Charlotte, and Gwen apologizes to Mark and Emma, gives them her blessing and promises not to meddle any more (though we’ll believe that when we see it).
Then the game is back on, and this time the Panthers have new energy. Thanks to MVP Gwen they manage to rack up points until they’re down by just one. The excitement in the stadium is palpable as, with only seconds left in the game, Emma gets the ball. She sets up, shoots and … misses by about as much as a person could possibly miss by. Oh, well, you’ll get ‘em next year, Panthers. As long as you keep Emma off the team at all costs.