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Balanced effort leads to comeback win for EMU women

emu sportsA huge third period propelled the EMU basketball women to a come-from-behind ODAC win over Roanoke College Tuesday night. Fueled by four three-pointers, the Royals out-scored their visitors 21-11 in the frame to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Eastern Mennonite (3-3 / 1-1 ODAC) stays at home this weekend to finish a three-game homestand, hosting Trinity (DC) Saturday at 2:00pm.

The solid win looked far from reality early in the game, as the Royals turned the ball over on their first three possessions and fell in a 7-0 hole. They scored the next six points, however, and kept things close despite shooting only 31% in the first half.

The women tied the score a few times before finally getting their first lead with 34 seconds left in a half when Jess Washington(Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) took an inside feed from Precious Waddy (Richmond, Va./Henrico) for a 25-23 lead. Roanoke (5-3 / 0-1 ODAC) had a quick answer, as Molly Hassell drained a three to give them a 26-25 edge at halftime.

After shooting just 2-13 from long range over the first 20 minutes, the Royals went small to open the third period, and the move paid off. Freshmen Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) and Chrissy Delawder (Broadway, Va./Broadway) combined for back-to-back-to-back triples to cap a 11-0 jab, vaulting the women to a 36-28 lead. A few minutes later, Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) converted a layup to give EMU their biggest lead at 41-32.

They led 46-37 heading into the fourth.

The teams traded buckets early until a quick 5-0 push got Roanoke within 51-47 with 6:02 left.

With a minute to play, the lead still stood at four points, but a careless turnover from EMU turned into a quick layup from Bridget Holleran to make it 59-57. The Maroons’ guard was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw, leaving the margin at two.

Washington connected on a single free throw for the Royals with 53 ticks left, however, the Maroons missed their chance when Holleran travelled on their next possession. The women left the door open by going 1-for-2 on four straight trips to the foul line, but good defense kept Roanoke from any big buckets. Walker cashed in on two charity tosses with five seconds left for the final 65-59 margin.

Both teams struggled from the floor, with EMU holding a slight 36.2% to 35.7% shooting edge. The women were just 8-18 from the free throw line. A big difference came on the glass, where the Royals hustled their way to 21 offensive rebounds and a 51-40 overall margin.

Eastern Mennonite also racked up nine blocked shots, their highest team total this decade.

Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) picked up her first career double double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. The freshman guard added six assists, three steals and two blocks in a stat-stuffing effort. Deffenbaugh finished with four three pointers for 13 points, four assists and two blocks. Delawder hit three triples added 12 counters and two more blocked shots.

Washington grabbed 12 rebounds while Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) had 10. Each scored nine points.

Roanoke was led by their All-ODAC player, Cary Beahm, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Hassell hit a trio of threes as she and Holleran each scored 13.