Backcourt trio sparks Eagles past Marlins

bridgewater eaglesBridgewater College held off a late Virginia Wesleyan run Wednesday evening to take an 84-78 victory over the Marlins, the Eagles second straight win in conference play.

Cassidy Burkholder, Jessica Lam and Briana Moore combined for 58 points to spark the Eagles offensive attack. Burkholder continued her stellar play with another double-double. She scored a season-high 25 points and added a game-high 10 rebounds. Lam scored 18 points and Moore added 10.

The Eagles also got solid production off the bench as four players combined to score 20 points. JessalynMonday scored eight points and Kaitlyn Lehan added six points, four rebounds and two blocked shots. Sydni Carey logged a season-high 31 minutes and contributed four points and six assists.

Virginia Wesleyan (4-10, 2-4 in the ODAC) was led by Crystal Strother’s game-high 30 points. Jayla Harris scored 17 points, followed by Raya Berkley with 11 and Kelly Jones with 10.

The Marlins jumped out to an 8-0 lead before Moore put the Eagles on the board with a jumper. Burkholder scored from inside to make it 8-4 before Strother knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Marlins their biggest lead of the game, 14-4.

Bridgewater responded with eight unanswered points to pull within two. Moore scored six straight points and Lehan added an inside hoop, making the score 14-12.

A layup by Lam gave Bridgewater its first lead at 16-15, but the hosts scored the next four points to lead 19-16. Lam added a layup in the closing seconds as the first period ended with the Eagles trailing by just one, 19-18.

The Eagles opened the second period with an 8-2 spurt to lead by five. A short jumper by Lehan and a 15-footer by Lam put the Eagles on top 22-19. Harris knocked down a jumper for the Marlins before Burkholder netted four straight points to put the Eagles on top 26-21.

The Marlins fought back to lead 30-29 before back-to-back 3-balls by Lam and Moore pushed the Eagles to a five-point lead.

After Jones connected from beyond the arc to pull the Marlins to within two, the Eagles scored the final eight points of the half to lead by 10 at the break. Monday hit two foul shots and Moore knocked down a jumper for a 39-33 Eagles lead. Lehan and Jessi Strom added buckets in the final two minutes for a 43-33 halftime lead.

Burkholder opened the third period with a 3-pointer to put the Eagles ahead by 13 and the lead hovered around double digits for most of the period.

The Marlins did pull to within six, 57-51, on a three-point play by Alexis Pratt with 1:32 left in the period, but the Eagles closed with a 6-0 spurt to push the margin back to 12. Lam hit two foul shots and Oshene Kelly scored from the paint for a 61-51 Eagles lead. Lam took a pass from Carey, and scored at the buzzer to put the Eagles on top 63-51 heading into the final period.

A jumper by Carey to open the fourth period put the lead at 14 and the margin was still 14 points when Burkholder converted a three-point play with 5:03 left in the game, giving BC a 74-60 lead.

A free throw by Lam pushed the margin to 15, 75-60, with 4:48 left, but the Marlins stormed back and a 16-2 run made it a one-point game, 77-76, with 1:27 left on the clock.

After Moore missed at the offensive end, the Marlins had a chance to take the lead, but Naeemah Morris missed a shot and Burkholder controlled the defensive rebound with a minute left to play.

The Eagles worked the shot clock and Burkholder converted a clutch driving layup to put the Eagles up 79-76 with just 34 seconds remaining.

Strother then missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer and Burkholder again controlled the rebound and was fouled with 26 seconds left. The Eagles guard made 1-of-2 foul shots for an 80-76 lead.

Strother hit two foul shots to pull the Marlins to within two, but Lam answered with two foul shots with 18 seconds left to keep the Eagles ahead by four, 82-78.

Harris’ 3-pointer was off target and Syndi Carey was fouled after grabbing the defensive rebound. Carey hit two foul shots with three seconds left to put the finishing touches on an 84-78 Eagles victory.

Bridgewater improved to 7-6 overall and 3-2 in the ODAC. The victory was the first for the Eagles at Virginia Wesleyan since the 2010-11 season.

The Eagles return to action Saturday afternoon when they travel to Lynchburg College to face the conference-leading Hornets, Game time is set for 2:00 p.m.

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