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EMU women fall at first-place Lynchburg

emu sportsA huge fourth-period surge was not enough for the EMU women, as they dropped an 89-85 loss at Lynchburg College to wrap up the regular season Saturday afternoon. The Royals had their eight-game winning streak snapped by LC, which earned the top seed in next week’s ODAC Tournament with the decision.

Eastern Mennonite (17-7/12-4 ODAC) settled for the No. 4 seed in tourney, after tying with Emory & Henry for third but losing the head-to-head tie-breaker. The Royals get a bye into the quarterfinals and will play Friday against the winner of No. 5 Randolph-Macon and No. 12 Hollins. Those teams play Tuesday night in Ashland, Va., with the quarterfinal game set for a 3:00pm tip-off on Friday at the Salem Civic Center.

The semifinals are that Saturday evening, with the Championship tipping off Sunday, Feb. 26, at 3:30pm.

Click here to see the interactive ODAC Tournament bracket.

Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) scored the game’s first four points and the teams went back and forth over much of the first period. Lynchburg (20-5/14-2 ODAC) used a 9-2 run over the final two minutes to lead 23-15.

The Hornets carried that momentum into the second, where they led by as many as 11 points. Chrissy Delawder (Broadway, Va./Broadway) caught fire from outside and racked up 12 points in the frame to help the women get within five. LC got an offensive putback in the final second, however, and still led 44-37 at the intermission.

In the third, EMU missed a handful of shots while the Hornets seemed to either score or get an offensive rebound on every possession. Back-to-back second-chance points gave LC their biggest lead of the day at 64-47 midway through the frame.

A steal and layup from Roach for the Royals rolling. The women scored the next nine points to get inside of double figures before Lynchburg pushed the lead back out to 72-58 heading into the final 10 minutes.

That’s when Eastern Mennonite came alive.

Scoring the frame’s first eight points in the paint, the Royals sliced the deficit down to 72-66 just 1:19 in. After an LC jumper, Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) scored four straight, including a three-point play which whacked the lead down to four at 74-70. The women had a 12-2 run in less than three minutes to start the final period.

LC eventually struck a 7-0 spurt to bump the lead back up to 81-72, but the Royals weren’t done. Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) swished a triple to make the score 85-80, and Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) nailed one to again make it a four-point game at 87-83 with 52 seconds left.

The Hornets got two free throws and Roach converted inside with 39 ticks showing to keep it at four. LC missed a pair of free throws a second later, but EMU came up empty on a missed three from Delawder and an offensive putback from Guest which was too strong. The Hornets missed two more free throws to leave the door open, but the women were out of time in the four-point loss.

Eastern Mennonite was in high gear on offense, shooting 56% from the floor including 7-for-13 from outside. But they couldn’t keep Lynchburg off the offensive glass, giving up 21 boards on that end. They were out-scored 22-2 in second chance points.

Roach was a tip-off-to-final-whistle threat, playing all 40 minutes to finish with career highs of 30 points and nine assists. Delawder also had a career effort, as the freshman dumped in five treys for 18 points and seven rebounds.

Guest came in with 16 points, while Walker had 14, including 10 in the fourth period. Deffenbaugh added four assists.

Caroline Naumann led Lynchburg with a career best 27 points. Guard Sarah Coronel had 15 points and 10 rebounds, including seven offensive.

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