Walker Helps Royals Roll Over VWC, 83-55

Myneshia Walker kept the defense off balance with a mix of three pointers and drives to the hoop. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Myneshia Walker kept the defense off balance with a mix of three pointers and drives to the hoop. (photo by Scott Eyre)

As if scoring 21 points in the first half wasn't enough, junior Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) decided to do her best Stephen Curry impersonation late in the third, bombing in her third three pointer from a few feet behind the arc. EMU's guard finished with a career high 30 points as the Royals earned an emphatic 83-55 win over Virginia Wesleyan Wednesday night in Harrisonburg.

Eastern Mennonite (13-6/8-3 ODAC) maintains their third-place tie with Emory & Henry with the decision, but more importantly pushes the Marlins (11-9/6-5 ODAC) two full games behind them in fifth place in the ODAC. The top four teams earn a bye into the quarterfinals of the ODAC Tournament later this month.

The Royals, with just two upperclassmen in their regular eight-woman rotation, now have back-to-back eye-catching wins. They thumped the ODAC's preseason favorite, Guilford, 66-59 on Saturday.

Wednesday's win over the Marlins looked like the Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) show early on, as the freshman scored 10 points in the first period and helped the women to a 21-12 lead.

But less than a minute into the second, Roach picked up her second foul and headed to the bench. Walker quickly put the team on her back.

At one point, the guard scored eight straight of her team's points, bumping the lead to 33-17 midway through the period. She put in 15 of EMU's 19 points in the frame, and they led the Marlins 40-24 by halftime.

Virginia Wesleyan came out re-focused in the third and scored on their first two possessions. But Walker picked out a steal and the Royals finally cashed in with a bucket after two offensive rebounds, taking the steam out of Marlins.

Roach and center Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) combined to score eight unanswered points, putting the lead at 53-31, and Walker later scored the final four points of the period, including her long bomb, to put EMU up 72-41.

Both teams were turning to their benches by the first minutes of the final period.

Eastern Mennonite made their visitors pay for their mistakes, grabbing 20 offensive rebounds and outscoring them 24-4 in second chance points. The women also had a 27-14 advantage in points off turnovers.

The Royals finished with a 53-28 rebounding domination and out-shot the Marlins 44% to 33%. They also went 32-42 from the free throw line. VWC finished 13-19.

Walker was efficient in reaching 30 points, shooting 9-for-18 from the floor and 3-for-6 from long range. She was also 9-12 from the stripe, grabbed nine rebounds, including five offensive, and was one of four Royals with two or more steals.

Roach was just as efficient, scoring 18 counters on 6-for-11 shooting. Guest came in with 12 points and 12 rebounds, her eighth double double over the past nine games.

Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) racked up seven assists and Chrissy Delawder (Broadway, Va./Broadway) had three steals. Each number was a career high for the two freshmen.

Virginia Wesleyan was led by NiAsia Caldwell's 14 points and eight rebounds. Jayla Harris added 11 points.

Eastern Mennonite hits the road this weekend, playing at Roanoke College on Saturday. Game time is 2:00pm. The Royals then play their final home games of regular season next week, hosting Bridgewater on Tuesday and Randolph next Saturday.

Coach Kevin Griffin said he is as proud of his team as he is surprised: