Despite some early game rust, the Eastern Mennonite basketball women controlled the second half against Lynchburg Tuesday night, taking an 81-72 ODAC win in Harrisonburg.
The win pushes Eastern Mennonite women to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the ODAC.
After EMU got the first bucket of the game, the Hornets took over and led by as many as ten in the first half at 25-15. Sophomore Stephanie Rheinheimer (Manheim, PA/Lancaster Mennonite) then canned a three pointer to start the women on their comeback.
Lynchburg got a bucket but Marla Young (Fishersville, VA/Wilson Memorial) nailed a triple and Bianca Ygarza (Conestoga, PA/Penn Manor) followed with a three-point play to slash the lead to three points. An offensive putback and another layup capped a 13-2 run as the Royals took the lead for the first time since the opening minute.
The Hornets settled down and retook the edge, heading into halftime on top 38-37.
EMU pushed the tempo to start the second and skipped back in front. A Young layup made it 58-52 with 12:28 to play.
The visitors slowed the game down, but couldn’t get their offense going. With 3:49 remaining, the Royals called a timeout. The defense then earned back-to-back steals to quickly balloon the lead to 73-64.
Lynchburg got within three after a three-point play with 1:38 to go, but the Royals forced three straight turnovers and turned each into a score to ice the 81-72 decision.
Coach Kevin Griffin said the Hornets’ record is deceiving.
“That’s the best 1-8 team in America,” he said. “They execute well, they play really hard, and have a bunch of kids that can shoot the ball.”
Both teams hovered around 40% in shooting for the game, but EMU earned the win by getting to the free throw line in the second half and forcing turnovers down the stretch. The Royals were 17-27 from the line compared to just 5-9 for Lynchburg. The women also had a 19-11 edge in turnovers.
Ygarza led a balanced attack with her second straight double double – 19 points, 13 rebounds and three steals.
“Bianca was amazing tonight, especially with no turnovers,” Griffin said. “But I thought it was big that we had five kids in double figures. In the first half Marla was the spark for us. In the second Raiven was the spark.”
Young hit a pair of three pointers in the first and finished with 10 points and three assists. Raiven Patterson (Pulaski, VA/Pulaski) had 11 points and three steals, all in the second half.
Katie Crump led Lynchburg with 16 points. Shannon Allan charted 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The women, now 8-1 for the season, have a week off before traveling to Washington & Lee next Tuesday.