Jenny Logan was all smiles.
Sure, the Luray graduate who left the Bulldogs girls basketball program as its all-time leading scorer was happy to win her Eastern Mennonite coaching debut Tuesday. But it was the things she saw from her Royals during a season-opening 69-41 win over Apprentice School inside Yoder Arena that had the former Bridgewater College standout beaming.
“It felt great,” said Logan, who replaced Kevin Griffin atop the EMU women’s basketball program during the offseason. “Going into today, obviously, I wanted to win. But I don’t think I could have asked for a better situation.”
That situation was getting strong play from her starters after the first-game jitters wore off, evident by a first-quarter 6-for-16 shooting performance and a sloppy up-tempo game that resulted in 22 turnovers. But once the Royals (1-0) got into their set offense, the shots began to fall. From there, it trickled down for the Royals as Logan used a pull-away second 10 minutes — shooting 9-for-19 — to empty her bench a bit and give her younger players a chance to “knock the dust off.”
Led by Lindsey Krisak’s team-high 14 points, including four 3-pointers, the Royals had the luxury of going to their younger lineup that saw freshmen Lexi Dean, an East Rockingham graduate, and Constance Komara, a former Harrisonburg standout, get pivotal playing time.
Dean booked four points and added five rebounds and two blocks in over 15 minutes of floor time with Komara scoring nine points in just under 13 minutes of play.
“The thing that makes [Dean] so special is her feel and her ability to move around the basket,” Logan said. “And Constance has a beautiful shot, it’s textbook. She just needs to get that experience a bit and settle down in the game.”
Logan’s veterans, however, led the way against the out-manned Builders, who dressed only seven players on the trip from Newport News.
Senior forward Jess Washington added 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting and junior Chrissy Delawder, a Broadway graduate, added 11 points on 4-for-7 from the field to go with Krisak’s double-digit effort.
“I’m just taking what they give me at this point,” said Krisak, who also dished out a team-high five assists. “Also trying to create for my teammates and come together as a unit.”
Delawder, who booked a double-double with 11 rebounds, said the sloppy first quarter in which the Royals shot a paltry 6-for-16 was all thanks to those first-game nerves, something the team talked about before taking the court for their season opener. Also a factor: the Royals played one scrimmage all preseason and that happened in October.
“It was nice to get out there and play against a different opponent other than ourselves,” Delawder said.
The opponent — the Builders — didn’t find its groove until the third quarter when Apprentice School finally managed a scoring spurt, going on a 10-0 run against EMU’s younger lineup. By that point, however, the Royals had built a 26-point lead that the Builders whittled down to 17 before a Dean putback and a Krisak jumper put the brakes on.
By the time Komara hit her first collegiate field goal — a fourth-quarter 3 from the elbow — Logan’s first win at EMU was well in hand.
“We talked about it before the game,” Delawder said. “It’s the same tradition, even with a new coach, but it’s the beginning of something new.”
Logan, meeting with recruits and then shaking hands with well-wishers after the victory, said the improvements in ball protection and the up-tempo play will come as the year rolls on.