EMU's young basketball women are learning an important lesson – how to win ODAC games on the road. The Royals gutted out a 68-59 decision at Randolph College on Saturday, earning their second straight conference road victory and fourth overall.
Now 8-4 on the season and 3-1 in the ODAC, the women were held below their season scoring average for the second straight game, yet found a way to win. Trailing Randolph 28-24 at halftime, Eastern Mennonite nearly doubled their offensive output with a 23-point third, and then sealed the decision in the fourth at the free throw line.
After trailing by six early in the third, EMU took over the lead quickly, forcing four straight Randolph turnovers to trigger a 6-0 run for a 33-32 advantage. The teams traded points until a Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) three bumped the margin to 47-43 at the final break.
The Royals scored the first five of the fourth to earn a nine-point lead at 52-43 but the WildCats didn't give up. A 5-0 jab trimmed it down to 56-54 and then a three pointer from Maura McMahon got the home team within 60-59 with 2:08 to play.
EMU then shutout Randolph, keeping them off the scoreboard for the final five possessions. On the offensive end, meanwhile, the Royals milked down the clock and drew the WildCats into a fouling game. The women calmly cashed in, going 8-for-8 from the free throw line over the final 1:27 to push back out to the nine-point final margin.
Most team stats were similar, including EMU's slight edge in shooting at 37% to 34%. The Royals' 52-41 rebounding advantage counter-acted their -6 turnover margin. In the end, it came down to Eastern Mennonite going 10-10 from the stripe in the fourth to finish at 13-17 for the game.
Center Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) picked up her second consecutive double double, leading the team with 17 points and 10 rebounds. After coming close in a couple of recent games, junior guard Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) finally earned her first career double double, getting 12 points and 12 boards to go with five assists.
Chrissy Delawder (Broadway, Va./Broadway) had a breakout game, hitting 5-of-10 three pointers for 15 points. Both marks were career highs for the freshman. Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) added 12 points, but made a huge impact on the defensive end where she grabbed six steals.
McMahon led Randolph from the bench with 10 points. Alexis Calloway added nine rebounds and six points.
The Royals get a big test at home Tuesday evening, hosting Washington and Lee in Yoder Arena. Both teams stand at 3-1 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, in a five-way tie for second place.