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Bridgewater women’s basketball holds on for 63-54 win over Guilford

Bridgewater College opened up a 19-point first half lead and the Eagles held Guilford College at bay down the stretch to post a 63-54 victory over the Quakers in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) opener for both teams.

bridgewater logoWith the score tied at 11-11, the Eagles used a 13-0 run to take control of the contest. A jumper by Heather Cantrell put the Eagles on top and Oshene Kelly added 1-of-2 at the foul line for a 14-11 Bridgewater lead.

Cantrell then knocked down a 15-footer and Holly Morgan cashed in from beyond the arc to put the Eagles on top 19-11 with 9:07 left in the first half. Another 15-footer by Cantrell followed by another 3-pointer by Morgan made the score 24-11 with 8:00 minutes remaining in the half.

A layup by Guilford’s Kayla Adams momentarily stopped the Eagles momentum, but Rebecca Reifsniderscored from the lane, giving the Eagles a 26-13 lead. After a short jumper by Morgan King, Eagles guard Jessi Strom knocked down a 3-pointer and Reifsnider added 1-of-2 from the foul line, giving Bridgewater a 30-15 lead with 4:44 left in the half.

After a bucket by Guilford’s Gabby Oglesby, the Eagles closed the half with a 9-2 spurt to take their biggest lead of the game.

Cassidy Burkholder made 1-of-2 at the line and Morgan scored on a baseline jumper to push the Eagles lead to 33-17. Strom and Guilford’s Sarah Burnick traded buckets before a free throw by King pulled Guilford to within 35-20. Molly Shelley and Morgan combined to make four straight free throws in the final minute to send the Eagles to the locker room with a 39-20 lead.

Bridgewater maintained its double-figure lead for all but the final 1:34 of the game. Each time the Quakers threatened to put together a strong run, the Eagles found an answer at the offensive end.

At the 13:35 mark, the Quakers cut the margin to 12 points, 45-33, on a bucket by Burnick, but Morgan hit a long 3-pointer to push the Eagles lead back to 15, 48-33.

Three times midway through the second half Guilford cut the lead to 10, but each time the Eagles responded with a basket. A 3-pointer by Brittany Drew made the score 48-38 with 10:30 left, but Kelly scored after an offensive rebound to put the lead at 12. Guilford’s Burnick scored on a layup, but Kelly hit the offensive glass again and scored on a stickback, making the score 52-40. Adams tallied on a driving layup to once again pull the Quakers within 10, but this time Cantrell was good with a 15-footer, for a 54-42 Eagles lead with 8:00 left in the game.

The teams traded empty trips before a 3-pointer by Morgan gave Bridgewater a 15-point lead, 57-42, with 5:56remaining.

The Quakers then put together an 8-0 run to cut the Eagles advantage to seven, 61-54, with 1:21 remaining. Drew scored six of the points and King added a layup for the Quakers.

Bridgewater missed the front end of a pair of one-and-one opportunities, however the Quakers were unable to capitalize at the offensive end. A layup by Reifsnider with 32 seconds left proved to be the final points in the Eagles 63-54 victory.

Morgan paced the Eagles with 18 points and Cantrell posted the first double-double of her young career with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Kelly scored nine points for the Eagles and Strom finished with eight.

The Eagles held a 45-44 edge on the boards against the taller Quakers. In addition to Cantrell’s 12 boards, Kelly grabbed 10 rebounds and Morgan finished with eight.

Drew topped the Quakers scorers with 16 points. The Bridgewater defense held Guilford’s talented inside duo of King and Oglesby to a combined 21 points with Oglesby reaching double figures with 12. Oglesby and King each grabbed 12 rebounds.

For the second straight contest the Eagles took good care of the basketball as they finished the game with just 12 turnovers. Bridgewater made 23-of-61 shots for 37.7 percent, just a touch better than the Quakers as they hit 23-of-63 attempts for 36.5 percent.

The Eagles are now 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the ODAC. Guilford falls to 3-1, 0-1 in the conference.

Bridgewater takes a break for Thanksgiving and returns to action on Dec. 3 for a home conference game against Randolph-Macon.  Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The game is also the women’s basketball program’s annual toy drive night. Fans bringing a new, unwrapped toy will receive free admission.

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