Virginia Wesleyan heats up after halftime, downs Bridgewater
The Eagles controlled play in the first half, leading from the opening tip to the end of the half.
Four points by Jessica Lam and a layup by Jessalyn Monday put the Eagles up 6-2. Amanda Gerni knocked down a 3-pointer for the Marlins, but two buckets by Eagles’ point guard Sydni Carey and a jumper by Rebecca Harvey made the score 12-5 just past the midway point of the opening quarter.
After a layup by Jaelyn Washington trimmed the margin to 12-7, a jumper by Jasmine Pinder and two free throws by Kaitlyn Lehan pushed the Bridgewater lead to 16-7. The Marlins closed the quarter with a 6-0 run to trail 16-13 after one quarter.
The teams traded points for most of the second quarter and a layup by NiAsia Caldwell pulled the Marlins to within one, 29-28, with 5:03 left in the half.
The Marlins failed to score during the final five minutes and the Eagles rattled off seven straight points to lead by eight at the break. Pinder hit a jumper and Lehan scored inside for a 33-28 Eagles’ lead. Lam hit two foul shots and Lehan made 1-of-2 at the line, giving Bridgewater a 36-28 lead at the half.
Virginia Wesleyan shot just 26.8 percent in the first half, but the second half was an entirely different story.
A layup by Lehan gave the Eagles a 10-point lead, 40-30, early in the third quarter, but the Marlins went on a 23-6 run to take a seven-point, 53-46, lead with 4:06 on the third quarter clock.
Crystal Strother hit from long range and Gerni added a pair of 3-pointers to kickstart the Marlins’ run. Gerni added a three-point play and Jayla Harris added a couple of buckets to push the visitors ahead.
Two free throws by Gerni put the Marlins up 58-49 and the teams traded points until a driving layup in traffic with four seconds left by Carey pulled the Eagles to within seven, 58-51, heading into the final quarter.
Virginia Wesleyan (13-11, 8-7 in the ODAC) increased the lead to as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter before finishing with the 84-73 victory.
After the cold-shooting effort in the first half, the Marlins scored 56 points in the second half on 55.3 percent shooting.
The ODAC’s top two scorers – Bridgewater’s Lam and the Marlins’ Harris – cancelled each other out. Lam finished with 20 points while Harris scored 17.
Lehan had a huge night with 24 points, a career-high 19 rebounds and six blocks and Carey added 14 points for the Eagles.
The Marlins put four more players in double figures with Gerni coming off the bench to lead the team with 20 points.
Bridgewater, now 13-11 overall and 6-9 in the conference, wraps up the regular season Saturday afternoon when the Eagles host Roanoke College. Game time is 2:00 p.m.