The Royals tied a program record for free throws as they used the charity stripe to pull away from visiting Frostburg State on Monday, 81-70. The final 11-point lead was the largest of the game as EMU's basketball women won for the fifth time in their past six tries.
The women take a 6-4 record into the second half of the season, all Old Dominion Athletic Conference games. They went 1-1 in ODAC play before Christmas.
That final 14-game stretch starts Wednesday when Eastern Mennonite heads to Hollins University. EMU also plays at Randolph on Saturday as four of their next five games are on the road.
The win over Frostburg State (4-7) was impressive, considering that the Royals were without junior Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) and struggled from long range. Throw in a total of 50 fouls called, and the game lacked a consistent flow.
Even with both of their starting inside players in early foul trouble and eventually fouling out, the Royals attacked the hoop and took advantage of repeated trips to the stripe. By night's end, the women hit 30-of-43 attempts, tying the program record for makes while coming two short of the mark for attempts.
Free throws made the difference in the fourth period, where EMU went 17-21 to put the game away. After seven lead changes and six ties, the women led the final 15:54 of the game, but the feisty Bobcats generally stayed within one or two possessions.
FSU hit a pair of triples around a single Royal free throw to trim a six-point margin to just 64-63 with 6:51 to play, before Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) put in a layup and Jess Washington (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) scored on a putback to push the lead back to 69-63. That breathing space proved to be enough, as EMU's defense held Frostburg State to just seven more points over the final 6:51.
The Bobcats connected on a jumper to get back within four, but the Royals scored the next six points from the free throw line to open a 75-65 lead. Freshmen Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) and Tierra Cochraham (Alexandria, Va./Thomas A. Edison) combined for six points from the stripe over the final 55 seconds as EMU scored their final 12 on charity tosses.
Roach converted 9-of-11 free throws and scored a career high 23 points. She also had three assists. Washington racked up 13 points and eight rebounds while center Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) added 11 and six.
Cochraham was good for 11 points and five boards off the bench while Deffenbaugh added nine counters.
Victoria Diggs and Amanda Emory each charted 15 points and five rebounds for Frostburg State. Kirsten Rayner had 14 points and six rebounds.
Each team committed 17 turnovers while EMU held a 48-43 rebounding edge and out-shot the Bobcats 40% to 35%. The biggest difference in the game was the stripe, however, where the Royals sunk 30 attempts while FSU was just 10-19.
Frostburg State had a three-game winning streak snapped.