In the third, it looked like Guilford's ballgame. But the fourth belonged to the Royals as they ended on an 18-2 tear to knock off the Quakers, 66-59.
Eastern Mennonite's women outscored the ODAC's second place team 23-8 in the final frame, and held the Quakers without a field goal over the final 6:36. The huge victory pushes EMU to 12-6 overall and 7-3 in the ODAC, keeping them in a tie for third place with Emory & Henry. EHC beat Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday, 81-67, pushing the Marlins a game behind the two teams in the standings.
The Royals host VWC in Yoder Arena on Wednesday.
Despite an energized crowd of 873 for Alumni Appreciation Day, Saturday's task was a big one for Eastern Mennonite as Guilford (15-3 / 8-2 ODAC) was the preseason pick to win the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. But the Royals proved to themselves that they could play with the Quakers, trading leads throughout the first 20 minutes.
GC scored the final four of the second period and the first nine of the third to open the biggest lead up to that point at 41-30. The visitors had the lead up to as many as 14 at 46-32 before the women chiseled the margin back to single digits.
The Quakers led 51-43 going into the fourth.
Eastern Mennonite had a quick start to the final frame, getting a bucket from Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) and a three-point play from Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick). Guilford dropped in a mini-run with six straight points to bump the margin back to 57-48 with 6:36 to go, but that's when EMU's defense took over.
The women forced GC into a number of tough shots and kept them off the offensive glass. On their own end, the Royals attacked the hoop, and the strategy paid off.
EMU connected on four straight layups to slice GC's lead to 57-56. After a foul with 3:04 to go, Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) cashed in on both free throws to give the women their first lead since late in the second quarter. Guest added a free throw and Roach went the length of the floor after a defensive rebound for another layup, giving the Royals a 61-57 lead with 1:43 to play.
The Quakers finally ended the 13-0 run with a pair of free throws, but Jess Washington (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) drove to the hoop for two, keeping the lead at 63-59 with 1:11 left. After a charge turned the ball over, Guilford turned to fouling. The Royals managed just 3-of-6 free throws over the final 46 seconds, but continued keeping GC out of the basket to clinch the upset.
Eastern Mennonite shot 44% from the floor in the winning period while holding Guilford to just 2-of-15 shooting.
For the game, the Quakers had a slight advantage at 37% to 35%, but the Royals made the difference at the free throw line, going 14-for-21. GC was 6-9. EMU was also +4 in turnovers.
Roach led all scorers with 19 points and added 11 rebounds for her second double double. The freshman guard also dished out four assists to lead all players. Guest also notched a double double, finishing with 15 points and 10 boards. She also had a career high four blocked shots, including three in the final period.
Walker came in with 13 points, while Washington added eight points and nine rebounds.
Heaven Walters led Guilford with 16 points and nine rebounds. Lauren Ramsey added 12 and eight. Leading scorer Anais Weatherly had just eight points on 4-for-15 shooting. She came in averaging 15.9 per game. GC's senior added 12 rebounds and three steals.
Coach Kevin Griffin knew his team was capable of beating Guilford: