The season came to an abrupt end for EMU's basketball women Friday afternoon, as the Royals couldn't overcome cold shooting in a 71-58 loss to Randolph-Macon in the ODAC Tournament quarterfinals.
Eastern Mennonite finishes the year with a record of 17-8. Despite the exit from the postseason tourney, the Royals had a surprising season after being picked No. 7 in the ODAC preseason poll. The women had a strong second half of the year, including an eight-game winning streak, and were tied for third in the ODAC at 12-4.
It was a tough quarterfinal matchup for EMU, though, facing the best frontcourt in the league in All-ODAC First Team and Rookie of the Year center Kelly Williams, along with All-ODAC Third Team forward Amber Lee. The 6-3 Williams got an offensive putback on R-MC's first possession and caused problems all day.
The two teams went back-and-forth in the first period, changing leads four times. Eastern Mennonite had a 5-0 run to go ahead 16-15, converting all of those points from the free throw line. But The Yellow Jackets scored the final four of the frame, taking a 19-16 lead along with the momentum.
In the second, the Royals got a few good looks, but couldn't buy a roll. R-MC scored the first seven to open up a 10-point lead before Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) canned a three to end a five-minute dry spell. Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) added a steal and layup to cut the margin to five, but the Yellow Jackets answered with eight straight to blow open a 34-21 lead. The margin was still 34-26 at halftime.
After shooting just 4-for-17 from the floor in the second period, things actually got worse for the women as they went 3-for-16 in the third. R-MC quickly put the lead in double figures and led 54-37 going into the fourth.
Chrissy Delawder (Broadway, Va./Broadway) opened the fourth with a pair of threes. Walker hit one as well and Roach put in a layup, as the Royals opened with a 11-4 run in just 2:18, getting within 58-48. As quickly as the women had some hope, they went scoreless for a three-minute stretch as the Yellow Jackets pushed the margin back up to 15 points.
EMU hit back-to-back buckets to trim the margin to 63-52 with 3:34 to go, but they couldn't get the needed defensive stops to complete the comeback.
The Royals were simply out-shot in the game, 44% to 32%. Randolph-Macon had a slight 12-9 advantage in offensive rebounds, but a 14-6 edge in second chance points.
Roach led Eastern Mennonite with 22 points, four steals and three assists. Walker added 12 and seven rebounds. Delawder put in 11 counters.
Williams was a one-woman wrecking crew with 22 points, 22 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Lee added 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three stuffs.
Coach Kevin Griffin said the loss stung, but they would look back at this season with pride: