Four teams entered the day tied atop the ODAC women’s basketball standings at 4-1, but at least one would fall on Saturday. Eastern Mennonite made sure it would not be them, as they topped fellow ODAC-leader Lynchburg 68-53 on the road.
After a tight start to the game, the Royals blew open a big lead. The women used a 12-5 run to build up a 27-18 cushion. Then after a Hornet bucket, EMU turned on the defense, forcing four turnovers and a missed shot. In less than two minutes, the Royals scored nine unanswered points to explode the lead to 36-20.
Lynchburg surged over the final minutes of the half to get within 38-31 at the break, but the women gained momentum right back at the start of the second. EMU got an offensive put-back from Bianca Ygarza (Conestoga, PA/Penn Manor) to open the frame, then back-to-back steals and layups from Alisa Brown (Dumfries, VA/Forest Park) and Keyla Baltimore (Bristow, VA/Brentsville District) to push the lead into double figures.
The Royals dominated the second half, and pushed the lead up to 21 points when Raiven Patterson (Pulaski, VA/Pulaski County) made the score 61-40 with an offensive put-back with 7:59 to go. It was coasting from there, as EMU’s defense won the day.
The women forced a whopping 27 turnovers and had a 56% to 41% advantage in shooting.
Seven players scored between seven and twelve points in a balanced attack for EMU. Ygarza had 12 counters, five rebounds and four assists. Shakeerah Sykes (Dumfries, VA/Forest Park) also scored 12.
Baltimore finished with 11 points and three steals, while Brown added nine tallies and four steals. Kala Yoders (Myerstown, PA/Eastern Lebanon County) also had four picks.
Now 9-5 overall and 5-1 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, EMU stays in a first-place tie with Guilford and Bridgewater. The Royals play on the road Tuesday, travelling to Ashland to take on Randolph-Macon.