The Royals are catching fire.
A lock-down defensive effort held visiting Washington and Lee to 15.5 points less than their season average as EMU's basketball women claimed an impressive 71-54 win at home Tuesday night. Now winners of five straight, the women, 9-4 overall, stand in second place in the ODAC at 4-1.
The Generals had their five-game winning streak snapped and fall to 7-6 and 3-2. W&L had scored 93 in a win at Roanoke on Saturday.
Eastern Mennonite fell in an early 13-8 hole as Washington and Lee hit three triples in the first 4:34 of the game, but the women held them to just four more the rest of the way. Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) hit EMU's first three pointer at the 1:25 mark of the first, gaining their first lead of the night at 18-17.
The Royals then blew open the close game in the second. In a span of only 1:09, the women hit a trio of longballs, and Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) added a layup for a quick 11-0 run and a 33-23 lead.
W&L scored the final five of the half to trim the margin to 35-29 at the break. The Generals started strong in the third to get within 37-35 before Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) made a strong move inside for two points, breaking the momentum.
After scoring the final six points of the third, Eastern Mennonite ended any drama quickly in the fourth. The defense continued to keep W&L from the net while the offense patiently scored the first nine points of the frame. When the Generals finally got a bucket at the 6:10 mark, it ended a dry spell of 5:58 and a 15-0 run from the Royals.
Walker later hit a pair of triples and Deffenbaugh added one more during a 9-1 streak, resulting in the biggest lead of the night at 71-48 with two minutes to play.
The Royals stifled Emily Perszyk to just six points. The Generals' guard had been third in the ODAC with an 18.0 scoring clip. Taylor Casey managed just three points in the second half and labored her way to 15 points on 5-for-14 shooting.
Walker was a key cog on both ends of the floor, scoring a game high 22 points with seven rebounds and two steals. Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) added 11 points, four assists and a pair of steals. Deffenbaugh shot 4-of-7 from outside and scored 16 points.
Guest notched her third straight double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jess Washington (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) racked up 13 rebounds, including seven of the offensive variety. The Royals had 19 offensive boards and a 50-40 advantage on the glass.
But defense was the name of the game, as Eastern Mennonite held W&L to 32% shooting, down from their season average of 41%.
The Royals get another stiff challenge on Saturday afternoon, travelling to play Emory & Henry College. The Wasps (9-4/3-1 ODAC) beat EMU 73-64 in a Nov. 26 meeting in Harrisonburg.
Coach Kevin Griffin said the win over Washington and Lee was the most complete game his women have played all year: