Only two teams have managed to beat Guilford's women this season. But after Saturday's strong finish in Harrisonburg, Eastern Mennonite picked up their second win over the ODAC-leading Quakers this season. The Royals finished the game on a 13-3 run for the biggest lead of the day, a 70-63 victory.
The women also own a 66-51 road win from Jan. 9. Guilford's only other loss was 65-64 to Stevens early in the season.
EMU improves to 14-6 overall, and more importantly 7-5 the ODAC. With just four games left in the regular season, the women are in a three-way tie with Washington and Lee and rival Bridgewater for fourth place in the ODAC standings. The top four teams earn first round byes into the ODAC Tournament quarterfinals.
The Royals used an early 8-0 run to grab the lead against Guilford (16-3 / 10-2 ODAC). Jess Rheinheimer (Manheim, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) scored back-to-back buckets for a 17-11 lead before the Quakers scored twice in a row to trim the first period margin to 17-15.
Both teams had leads in the second, but Rheinheimer's late free throws pushed EMU back in front at the intermission, 29-27.
Sa'Mone Moore (Covington, Va./Covington) opened the third with a triple and the women enjoyed a five-point lead early in the third. But the gritty Quakers held EMU scoreless for three minutes to trigger an 8-0 run and flip in front, 43-39. The visitors got a three from Kayla Scott for their biggest lead at 46-41 before the Royals pounded it inside for a 6-0 run to take the lead back. Guilford had the final say of the frame, however, with Heaven Walters getting a bucket in the closing seconds to lead 48-47 heading into the fourth.
Walters kept the Quakers in the lead into the final frame, converting a three-point play for a 60-57 lead with 4:40 to go. Then the Royals turned on the defense, holding GC scoreless for the next four minutes. Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) hit a pair of free throws and followed that with a layup to get EMU in front. After Guest grabbed a steal, Moore drilled a huge three ball to give the women a 64-60 cushion with 2:37 remaining.
The teams traded back-to-back empty possessions before the Quakers got a layup with 41 seconds left. Guilford then turned to fouling. Rheinheimer hit one toss to make it 65-62 and after a GC miss Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) also hit one-of-two to make it 66-62 with 17 left.
The Quakers got a single free throw with 11 ticks left, but Rheinheimer and Jazmine Carter (Fairfax, Va./Oakton) combined to sink four free throws and close the door on the final seven-point margin.
Eastern Mennonite had a 47% to 33% shooting advantage, including 6-10 from long range. They were also 22-25 as a team from the free throw line. All those numbers made up for giving up 13 offensive rebounds and holding a -11 turnover margin.
Rheinheimer led a balanced effort with 16 points and six boards. Moore was 4-4 from three point range for 12 points. The two centers, Guest and Shaneyea Conwell (Newport News, Va./Warwick) each had 11 points and six rebounds. Point guard Alicia Ygarza (Conestoga, Pa./Penn Manor) had game highs of seven rebounds and five assists.
Walters led Guilford with a career high 18 points and seven rebounds. Anais Weatherly, GC's All-ODAC forward, scored only 12 points and was limited to two points on 1-for-7 shooting in the second half.
The Royals stay at home on Tuesday, hosting Shenandoah University at 7:00pm.
Coach Kevin Griffin got key plays from a number of people in the win over Guilford: