The depth of Eastern Mennonite can take some time to establish its edge, but that depth proved crucial Monday night in a 61-53 win at rival Bridgewater. The Royals held BC to one field goal over the final 4:27, ending on a decisive 12-5 run.
After the women scored the first four of the game, they used an 11-2 run to spark to a 15-8 lead. But the Eagles then clamped down on defense and held EMU scoreless for nearly six minutes. The home team rattled off 14 straight to go ahead 22-15.
The two played evenly into halftime, with BC holding a 31-25 edge at the break.
The opening minutes of the second were rough on the Royals, as the Eagles pushed their lead to the biggest of the game at 39-27.
But Eastern Mennonite’s tempo started to wear down BC and with the deficit at 44-32, the comeback began. Bianca Ygarza (Conestoga, PA/Penn Manor) finally knotted things up at 46-46 with a layup with 7:07 remaining. Marla Young (Fishersville, VA/Wilson Memorial) canned a three pointer, EMU’s first, on the next possession, giving the women their first lead since the first half.
The women then forced BC into a number of tough shots down the stretch as the lead never got below six. Rheinheimer made 4-of-6 free throws to help ice the win.
Ygarza was a personal wrecking ball, as she charted a double double with game highs of 18 points and 15 rebounds. She also had seven steals and three assists.
Rheinheimer was clutch down the stretch and finished with nine points. Young had seven points and Lamneck added six with five rebounds. Raiven Patterson (Pulaski, VA/Pulaski) was good for six rebounds and three steals.
Eastern Mennonite effectively reversed the shooting percentages from the first half, holding the Eagles to just 28% in the final 20. Neither team shot particularly well, with EMU coming in at 37% and BC at 36%. The Royals had the biggest edge at the free throw line, going 13-20 compared to 7-13 for Bridgewater.
The women harassed Jessica Mullen to an 8-for-22 shooting night, as she led the home team with 17 points and six steals.
It was a key win for the Royals, who improve to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. EMU is the lone undefeated team left in the league, and rest atop the ODAC standings with Guilford at 2-0.
Next up is a home date with traditional power Roanoke on Wednesday. The Maroons have struggled to a 0-3 start.