The Royals weren't about to allow a repeat of the third-period letdown they had against Bridgewater College three weeks ago. In that game, EMU watched as a 12-point lead in the third turned into an 84-74 loss to their rivals.
Tuesday night in Yoder Arena, Eastern Mennonite's basketball women allowed just four points in the third period, and nine in the entire second half, as they stomped the Eagles, 84-36. The Royals outscored BC 52-9 over the final 20 minutes.
The women improve to 15-6 / 10-3 ODAC with their sixth straight win. With just three games left in the regular season, EMU can finish no worse than in a tie for third place. One more victory would clinch a top-four seed in the ODAC Tournament along with its first-round bye.
The Royals play their final home game this Saturday in a women's/men's doubleheader, as both teams host Randolph College. Tip-off is at 1:00pm, with the women also celebrating their lone senior, Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) in pre-game ceremonies. It's also a Play4Kay game and a Pink Out.
The first half was tight against Bridgewater (13-9 / 6-7 ODAC) as neither offense could find a rhythm. EMU made a short run in the second to build a lead of 26-17, but the Eagles answered with a 10-1 streak to lock things up at 27-27.
The Royals scored the final five of the frame to grab a 32-27 lead, and the momentum carried into the second half.
On the first possession after the break, BC put pressure on Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) as she dribbled in the halfcourt. But the freshman found a wide open Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) for a triple from the left wing, making the lead 35-27 just 10 seconds in.
Everything snowballed from there.
Eastern Mennonite ended up scoring the first 16 points of the third as they held BC scoreless for the first 6 minutes and 13 seconds. An offensive putback finally ended the Eagles' drought. But Walker answered with another three pointer and the Royals kept rolling.
Even as both coaches emptied their benches in the fourth, EMU continued their dominant half. The women limited Bridgewater to just 12% shooting after halftime.
The Royals shot 41% for the game, including 10-25 from long range. The women were 9-of-18 from outside in the second half. BC shot just 26%. EMU also grabbed 21 offensive rebounds and had a 53-35 domination on the glass.
Roach flirted with a triple double and came in with 17 points, eight rounds and eight assists. Jess Washington (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) charted a double double with 17 points and 14 rebounds, including nine offensive. Walker scored a team high 18.
Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) hit a trio of threes for nine points and picked three of her team's 12 steals. Jourdyn Friend (Richmond, Va./Meadowbrook) added six points and five rebounds.
Jessica Lam led Bridgewater with 16 points, but she had no one to help her with second-leading scorer Briana Moore out with an injury.
Coach Kevin Griffin said his team took control by doing three things well: