A cold start was too much for the EMU women to overcome, falling 73-64 to Emory & Henry College Saturday afternoon in Harrisonburg. Even with a number of positive takeaways from the effort, the Royals slide to 1-2 on the year in the ODAC opener for both teams.
The women step back out of conference play on Wednesday, playing at Catholic in Washington, DC, before returning home next week Saturday afternoon to host Ferrum.
Neither EMU nor the Wasps (3-1) could score on their first two possessions until the visitors got a steal and layup to hit the scoreboard first. Emory & Henry then showed their experience by settling in quickly to score the first nine points of the game. Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) finally buried a triple to get the Royals their first points at the 4:17 mark of the period.
The women scraped within four points before the Wasps pushed out to their biggest lead of the day at 24-11 midway through the second. EMU scored the next five points and got back within 29-24 by halftime.
After the low-scoring first half, both teams picked up the pace out of the break. EHC hit an early three pointer before the Royals forced three straight turnovers and scored seven unanswered to trim the deficit to one at 32-31.
But in what became the pattern of the final 20 minutes, Emory & Henry settled down and kept the lead. They scored eight straight to push back to a 40-31 margin and led 53-46 at the end of the third.
The lead stood at 12 at 69-57 with 3:06 to go play when the Royals went on one final run. Freshman Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) capped a 7-0 spurt with a three pointer, getting back within 69-64 with :59 seconds left.
EHC's Megan Jacoby hit a pair of free throws with 41 ticks left. A steal on a long pass and two more tosses from Jacoby sealed the game at 73-64.
After a cold first half of just 20.6% shooting, the Royals shot 44.1% in the second to finish at 32.4% for the game. Emory & Henry was more steady and finished at 46.3%. Each team hit seven triples, although EMU needed 10 more shots to get there.
Eastern Mennonite got to the glass in the first half, especially, when they grabbed 14 of their 19 offensive rebounds. EHC had a slight overall margin for the game at 37-36. The Royals were +4 in turnover margin, 16-12.
Walker had 15 points and three assists to lead a balanced attack. Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) scored 11 of her 13 in the second half, as did Deffenbaugh, who hit three triples en route to her season high total.
Jess Washington (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) had eight points and seven rebounds in a high-energy effort. Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) racked up 11 rebounds, including eight offensive while Chrissy Delawder (Broadway, Va./Broadway) added eight points.
Taylor Blevins notched a double double for Emory & Henry, finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Jacoby dished out 10 assists to go with her eight points.
Coach Kevin Griffin said his team has shown a lot of positives from a tough opening stretch to the season: