The ODAC Basketball Tournament was held this past weekend, with both our men and women earning the journey to the Salem Civic Center.
The men went into the weekend as the ninth seed after defeating Washington & Lee in the first round play-in game.
The Running Royals came up short in an action packed back-and- forth game against Virginia Wesleyan.
Down by 12 at halftime, the Royals opened the second half with a run to cut the Wesleyan lead to two. Wesley- an then responded with a run of their own, opening their lead back up to 10. The Royals forced their way back into the game but could not get over the hump of their first half deficit, eventually losing 83-65.
The final score does not reflect the battle that was this ODAC quarterfinal match up. The Royals were in the game until the very end, not being able to convert on a couple of key possessions in the waning moments.
The women went into the week- end defending their status as the top overall seed. Their Thursday quarter-final match-up with Washington & Lee ended with 68-58 win. The Royals led the entire contest, though they found themselves battling to hold on to the lead when W&L cut it to one with three minutes left. EMU scored the next six points to seal the victory and advance to the semifinals to face Lynchburg.
Lynchburg forced the women into overtime on Saturday, but were not enough for the deep EMU lineup. The Royals, whose bench provided 37 points, used an 8-2 run in overtime to advance to the championship game against Guilford.
The final was a grudge match for the Royals, who narrowly lost to Guilford in last year’s semifinal; Guilford would go on to win convincingly in the championship game against Virginia Wesleyan that year. Unfortunately, a similar result occurred, as the Royals lost by two in another close contest with the Quakers.
A game-tying three from Stephanie Rheinheimer made it 59–all before the Guilford scored with seconds left in the game. A last-ditch scoring effort by the Royals rebounded off of the front of the rim as time expired.
Despite the loss in the ODAC Tournament Championship on Sunday, the Royals were selected to an at-large bid for the 2013 NCAA D-III National Tournament. For only the second time in the program’s history, the national selection committee decided on Monday that the EMU women were deserving of post-season play after a 21-6, going 17-3 in regional play and 15-1 in the ODAC.
The Royals will face Marymount (VA) at 5:00 p.m. in Friday’s First Round game hosted at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. The other matchup in this bracket will be host Christopher Newport taking on Guilford College, and the winner will play the victor of the EMU-Marymount game on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Marymount comes into the tournament boasting a 23-4 record, as well as having one of the nation’s top three- point threats, Katelyn Fischer, who is shooting 43 percent from behind the arc this year.
The Royals’ only other appearance in the D-III National Tournament was during the 2003-2004 campaign, when the EMU women advanced to the Sweet 16 before succumbing to defeat.