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Eagles Look to Get Back on Track with Busy Three-Game Week

Eagles Look to Get Back on Track with Busy Three-Game Week


BRIDGEWATER, Va. – After dropping a pair of Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) contests last week, the Bridgewater Eagles women's basketball team has a busy week in front of it with three games including a pair of key conference contests.

Bridgewater opens the week with its final non-conference home game of the season when Frostburg State visits Nininger Hall. On Thursday, the Eagles make the brief trip across the county to Eastern Mennonite to do battle with the conference-leading Royals. Bridgewater then wraps up the weekend on Saturday at home when Emory & Henry comes to town.

Last week, the Eagles dropped a pair of key conference affairs. On Wednesday, Bridgewater dropped a 72-66 decision on the road at Shenandoah before returning to Nininger Hall and falling by a 70-53 margin to Guilford.

Offensively, the Eagles continue to develop a variety of scoring options and are still led by the play of senior guard Jessica Mullen. Mullen scored 28 points on Wednesday at Shenandoah and netted 18 on Saturday against the Quakers and is currently tied for second in the league in scoring with a 17.6 average.

Aside from her offensive prowess, Mullen is also a force on the defensive end and ranks second in the league in steals with 46. As a team, the Eagles defense ranks third in the league in points allowed at a 56.2 average.

On the glass, sophomore Shannan Thorne has been solid, averaging 10 rebounds per game. Thorne's rebound average ranks her second in the ODAC. Bridgewater ranks second in the league in rebounding with a 44.6 average.

In the first contest of the week, Frostburg State comes to Nininger Hall on a two-game skid. The Bobcats have also dropped five of their last six games with their lone victory during the stretch coming on January 9 against Wesley by a 51-42 tally. Frostburg State is 5-11 overall.

Frostburg is paced on the offensive end by three players in double figures. Elaina Hummel leads the way with 13.7 points per game, while Stephanie Straka adds 11.1 per game and Ronje' James rounds out the double figure scorers with 10.4 points per game. Hummel has been in double figures in all but three games on the season and dropped a season-high 21 points earlier in the season in a win at Penn State-Harrisburg. In the same win over PSU-Harrisburg, James tallied a career-high 28 points.

In the rebounding department, Brynn Arnone leads the way with 5.8 boards per game. As a team, Frostburg State averages just 36 rebounds per game.

The Bobcats are allowing 62.4 points per game on the season.

Dating back to 1981, the Bobcats own the series with Bridgewater, winning 12 of the 15 games. Bridgewater was victorious a season ago in Frostburg by a 71-59 tally in the first game between the two teams in the Jean Willi era.

Thursday's matchup at Yoder Arena will see Bridgewater come in as the underdog to Eastern Mennonite as the ODAC-leading Royals ride a four-game winning streak into the contest. The Royals have rattled off four straight double-digit wins with their latest victory coming by a 70-54 margin against Virginia Wesleyan.

On the offensive end, a balanced offense of seven players averaging seven or more points per game is led by the play of junior forward Bianca Ygarza. Ygarza averages 10.9 points per game in 23 minutes of action. The junior is shooting at a 46% clip from the floor, which ranks her seventh in the ODAC. As a team, Eastern Mennonite leads the league in scoring with 69.8 points per game, and is also the hottest shooting team in the ODAC, shooting at a 43.2% clip.

Aside from her offensive production, Ygarza also leads the Royals in rebounding with 6.8 per game. Eastern Mennonite is third in the league in defensive rebounds per game with 27.8.

The Royals are also stout on the defensive end, allowing just 56.2 points per game to rank fourth in the conference.

Since 1981, the Eagles own the all-time series with Eastern Mennonite with a 49-22 record. The recent series history has seen a pair of three-game runs from Bridgewater, but the Royals have topped Bridgewater the last two times they have met, winning last season in Yoder Arena by a 66-65 tally after Bridgewater tied the game up in the final minute of play. EMU topped the Eagles in Nininger Hall in the first contest between the two teams last season.

Finally, the Eagles return to Nininger Hall on Saturday for a rematch with Emory & Henry. Earlier in the month, the Eagles ran out to a large second half lead before hanging on for a 65-55 victory in Emory.

Emory & Henry enters the week on a two-game skid after dropping a pair of decisive contests on the road to Roanoke and Lynchburg. The Wasps are 7-9 overall and 4-4 in league play entering the week.

Three players in double figures pace the way for the Wasps, with sophomore guard Michelle Williams leading the way with 13.6 points per game.

The games on Monday and Saturday will be carried live on Fresh 96.1 FM in the Shenandoah Valley, while each game on the week will have live stats and live video available.