The Royals set the tone early, leading from start to finish, in an impressive 71-59 win over powerful Ferrum College Saturday afternoon in Harrisonburg. Four EMU women scored in double figures in the victory over a Panthers' team which was picked to finish second in the USA South East Division.
Eastern Mennonite improves to 2-3 as they turn the page on a tough start to the season's schedule. The women's three losses come to teams which have a combined record of 17-1.
EMU stays at home on Tuesday for an Old Dominion Athletic Conference clash with Roanoke College. Game time is 6:00pm in Yoder Arena, with the women's game followed immediately by the EMU men hosting Randolph-Macon at 8:00pm in an ODAC doubleheader.
In the game against Ferrum, the women started quickly. The Royals grabbed the opening tip and Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) drilled a three from the wing. After a defensive stop, Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) grabbed her own missed shot and dished to Jess Washington (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) for a second-chance lay-in and a 5-0 lead just 48 seconds into play.
They later used a 12-3 run to balloon the lead to 17-7 and led 18-9 after one period.
EMU kept on the pressure in the second, starting with a three-point play after an offensive rebound. Deffenbaugh added two more triples and Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) converted a four-point play as the women scored the first 15 points to blow open a 33-9 cushion.
Ferrum didn't hit double figures in scoring until Erin March put in a three pointer to make it 33-12 at the 5:25 mark.
Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) scored the final three points of the first half, as EMU took a 41-19 margin into the break.
Eastern Mennonite out-shot their visitors 42.9% to 25.9% over the first 20 minutes and added nine offensive rebounds.
The Panthers tried to start a comeback right after the intermission, scoring on both of their first two possessions. Guest put a quick end to that, however, converting a three-point play after a nice assist from Roach. The center added a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left in the frame for the biggest margin of the day at 57-29.
Ferrum made a little noise in the fourth, at one point scoring 13 unanswered points, but they would get no closer than 10 points.
The women finished with a slight shooting edge at 42.9% to 40.0%, but made the difference by dominating the boards and getting to the stripe.
In her first start, Washington racked up a game high 15 rebounds. It was the third straight game the sophomore broke her career mark for rebounds. She added 15 points for her first collegiate double double. EMU had 15 offensive rebounds and a 42-24 edge on the glass.
Guest went 5-for-6 from the free throw line, personally matching Ferrum's team total for made tosses. The Royals were 16-22 as a team. Guest added five field goals to tie her career high with 15 points.
Walker led all scorers, going 4-for-5 from outside en route to 19 points to tie her career high. She also had four assists. Deffenbaugh finished with 12 points. Roach was the only starter to miss double figures in scoring, settling for nine counters. The guard made her mark by handing out a game high six assists to go with two steals a blocked shot.
Zarkia Mattox, an All-USA South First Team selection last year, was limited to four first-half points for Ferrum before finishing with 17 points, five assists and four steals. March hit four three pointers and charted 17 as well.
Coach Kevin Griffin said his women executed their game plan: