A 28-point fourth quarter helped host Hood College overcome a double-digit deficit, but they needed to dodge a bullet in overtime to hand EMU's basketball women a 72-70 setback Monday afternoon. With both schools out of session, the teams played a rare 1:00pm weekday game in Frederick, Md.
Eastern Mennonite (4-4) has 11 days to lick their wounds before hosting Mary Baldwin University on Friday, Dec. 30. Again due to the Christmas break, the weekday game with the Fighting Squirrels will have a 2:00pm start in Yoder Arena.
The Royals scored first against Hood (5-5) and never trailed in the first half, leading 29-22 at the break.
The women caught fire in the third period, scoring the first seven points and out-scoring the Blazers 17-8 to build up a 46-30 advantage. Jess Washington (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) hit a layup to open the fourth, giving EMU the biggest lead of the game at 48-30.
That's when Hood took off. Back-to-back threes from Shannon O'Meara triggered a 12-0 run in less than two minutes, slicing the lead to 48-42.
Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) hit a contested driving layup to end the scoreless spell, and Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) drew a charge on the other end of the floor, but the women couldn't stop the home team's momentum.
The Blazers took the lead for the first time at 54-53 when Ebony Pitt hit a three pointer at the 3:27 mark, and had the edge as high as 58-53. EMU stuck with it, however, and eventually tied the score at 58-58 when Washington putback her own missed shot with 10.7 seconds left in regulation.
After a timeout, the Royals double-teamed Hood's Allie Appleby and forced a turnover to earn one last chance. But Walker's late leaner from the baseline was no good, sending the game into extra time.
Hood out-scored the women 28-12 in the fourth after managing just 30 points over the first three periods.
EMU continued to attack the basket in OT, but struggled with their shot selection. The Blazers, meanwhile, had good ball movement and cashed on in back-to-back-to-back three pointers to jump to a 67-58 lead with 1:48 to go.
The women turned on the defense once again, and got within 69-65 on a triple from Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) with 47 seconds left.
The teams traded points before Walker picked a steal and Washington converted a three-point play off an offensive putback with 5.9 left to get EMU within 71-70. After a quick foul, HC's Celina Herndon made just one free throw, but Deffenbaugh missed what would have been a game-winning three from the top of the key as time expired.
Playing without leading scorer Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora), the Royals struggled offensively, shooting just 34.2%. They made 3-of-14 threes for 21.4% and were only 17-30 from the free throw line. Hood shot 44.3% from the floor and 8-22 from outside.
Eastern Mennonite countered the shooting with a season-high 24 offensive rebounds, earning a sizeable 24-2 edge in second chance points. The women had a 51-43 advantage in rebounding.
Washington grabbed 13 rebounds, including six offensive, and scored a career high 20 points. It was also her second double double of the season. Deffenbaugh scored in double figures for the fourth straight game as the freshman set a new career mark with 19 points.
Walker charted 11 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Jourdyn Friend (Richmond, Va./Meadowbrook) hawked in eight offensive rebounds and just missed a double double with 14 boards and nine points. Guest added nine rebounds.
O'Meara hit four triples off the bench to co-lead Hood with 14 points. Taylor McGaughey also scored 14 while Appleby had six assists.