The hard work over the first semester of the Jenny Logan era is starting to pay off.
With Saturday's 61-50 win over visiting St. Mary's College, the EMU basketball women head into their Christmas break on the strength of back-to-back double-digit wins. The Royals' previous game was a 68-39 thumping of Ferrum last Saturday.
Now 4-7 on the season, Eastern Mennonite has a two-week break before hosting a rejuvenated Mary Baldwin team on Saturday, Dec. 29.
It was a slow start for both teams against St. Mary's (2-7), with EMU holding a slight 2-1 lead after four minutes of play. But the women closed the opening frame on an 8-2 run for a 12-7 edge.
The teams traded leads in the second until Lindsey Krisak (Alexandria, Va./Thomas A. Edison) and Chrissy Delawder (Broadway, Va./Broadway) used back-to-back threes to get EMU back in front. They led 28-24 at halftime.
The Seahawks hung around for a few minutes in the third before Eastern Mennonite took off.
Precious Waddy (Richmond, Va./Henrico) started a game-changing streak with a steal, making a quick pass ahead for an Emily McCombs (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) lay-in at the 7:08 mark. The Royals scored on their next six possessions and rattled off 15 unanswered points. EMU's defense forced four turnovers during the stretch, opening up a 46-28 lead.
St. Mary's responded, however, scoring the final 11 points of the period to close the gap to 46-39.
The visitors kept pushing in the fourth, getting within one point at 50-49 with 6:48 remaining, but Waddy was there again to change the momentum. Her jumper bumped the lead back to three, and another jumper a minute later put it at 54-49.
The Seahawks managed a single free throw at the 3:40 mark to get within 56-50, but the Royals defense thwarted any thoughts of a comeback. The women held St. Mary's scoreless after that play, allowing just one point over the final 6:48 of the game.
Eastern Mennonite closed on an 11-1 rally, with Waddy and Krisak combining to score all of EMU's points.
The Royals had a 38%-to-32% shooting advantage. They were also +6 in turnovers, forcing 25 SMC miscues.
Krisak led all scorers with 13 points. Delawder had eight points and a game high nine rebounds.
Led by Waddy and Kiana Childress (Palmyra, Va./Fluvanna County), EMU got 30 points from their bench. Waddy scored 10 and had three steals. Childress tied her career high with nine points, adding five rebounds, three assists and two more steals. Lexi Dean (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) put up six points and four boards.
Gina Seifert led St. Mary's with 11 points and nine rebounds. Hallie Persell scored 10.