EMU women improve to 7-1
It was a rough start to the game for the Royals as they had just finished up their exam week and missed second-leading scorer Raiven Patterson (Pulaski/Pulaski) for the game (personal matter).
The women struggled to hit shots over the first 20 minutes, but the inside combination of Kala Yoders (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO) and Bianca Ygarza (Conestoga, Pa./Penn Manor) helped give Eastern Mennonite some momentum and a 26-22 lead at the break.
The defense stepped up in the second, holding the Hornets without a field goal for the first 6:41 of the half. The Royals slowly built up their lead into double digits, with only a pair of three pointers from SU’s Mandy Johnston keeping the visitors in it.
The lead ballooned to 39-27 as EMU opened the half on a 13-5 run.
The margin stayed between 8 and 12 points the rest of the way, and the women held Shenandoah without a point over the final 2:35 as they coasted to the 60-48 win.
Yoders and Ygarza each charted double doubles to lead the team. Yoders led all scorers and had 20 points and 10 boards. Ygarza came in with 17 and 12, as she was 6-for-7 from the floor and led EMU with three steals.
Stephanie Rheinheimer (Manheim, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) had a career high five assists. Guard Keyla Baltimore (Bristow/Brentsville District) had eight points and six rebounds.
Eastern Mennonite finished with a 47-41 rebounding advantage and held SU to 28% shooting. EMU shot 41%, including 62% in the second half, and was also 17-29 from the free throw line compared to just 4-8 for the Hornets.
Johnston hit four triples and led the visitors with 18 points.
Coach Kevin Griffin was happy to go into the 16-day Christmas break with a win.
“It wasn’t pretty but we’ll take it,” he said. “I was very proud of our women after a tough week with a lot working against us. We just kept battling and got great efforts from multiple people. Bianca and Kala were terrific today.”
Now 7-1 overall, the Royals are off until Tuesday, Jan. 3, when they host Lynchburg. The ODAC schedule begins in earnest after the lay-off, with 15 of EMU’s final 16 games against conference teams. At 4-1, the women stand in third in the ODAC, behind Virginia Wesleyan (4-0) and Guilford (3-0).