Glass Work Keeps Eastern Mennonite Atop ODAC Standings

Jess Washington averaged 13.0 points and 13.5 rebounds over EMU's last two games, both wins. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Jess Washington averaged 13.0 points and 13.5 rebounds over EMU's last two games, both wins. (photo by Scott Eyre)

The Royals grabbed momentum with a run late in the second period, and then took over with a knockout third, running to a 64-45 win at Shenandoah University on Wednesday.

EMU grabbed 15 offensive rebounds to trigger a 42-29 overall margin. It was the basketball women's third straight game with 13 or more boards off the offensive glass as they improved to 9-4 overall.

After entering the week in a five-way tie atop the ODAC standings, Eastern Mennonite emerges from the mid-week games as one of just two teams with a 4-1 league mark. The other is Lynchburg (12-2), who makes the trip to Harrisonburg this Saturday afternoon. The women play at 4:30pm in Yoder Arena as part of a men's/women's doubleheader against LC. The men play at 2:00pm.

Looking at a clash of the top two teams in the ODAC Preseason Poll, the Royals already own one win over Lynchburg, a 64-59 road victory on Dec. 6.

Shenandoah (7-7/3-2 ODAC) entered Wednesday night's game as one of the surprise teams early in the ODAC season, buoyed by last week's 73-66 win over Randolph-Macon. But after giving up a bucket on the first possession, Eastern Mennonite rattled off nine straight points to take the lead. SU got within one before the Royals stretched out to a 17-12 lead after one.

The Hornets were back within 24-23 with 3:39 remaining in the second when the women caught fire. They scored on four of their final six possessions of the half while holding their hosts scoreless to quickly balloon open a 33-23 margin. Shenandoah got a late jumper to make it 33-25 at the half.

But the late run carried over into the third. Chrissy Delawder's (Broadway, Va./Broadway) three pointer with 4:29 to go in the third capped a 17-4 run to put the lead at 50-29. Lindsey Krisak (Alexandria, Va./Thomas A. Edison) later hit a triple for the biggest lead of the night at 55-32.

When all was said and done, the Royals out-scored Shenandoah 22-10 in the third period. Including the run late in the second, EMU unleashed a 31-9 tear to blow open what had been a one-point game.

Both teams had low-scoring efforts in the final frame as the women coasted to the finish.

Eastern Mennonite had slight shooting advantages and a +4 turnover margin, but the big difference was offensive rebounds, which gave the Royals a 16-2 edge in second chance points.

Jess Washington (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) had five offensive boards en route to a game high 14 rebounds. The forward added 15 points for her second consecutive double double. Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) did not miss a shot and scored 13 points with four assists. She made all four of her field goals, including a trio of threes, and cashed both free throws for her second-best scoring output of the season. Deffenbaugh is shooting 12-for-17 from the floor over her last four games.

Delawder finished with 10 points and three assists. Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) added eight points, five boards and four steals, while Krisak also dumped in eight tallies.

Kirstyn Arcata led Shenandoah with 15 points. Jordan Sondrol had 12 points and five rebounds. Ashley Stone added 11 and five, as the Hornets got all of their scoring from their starters.