HARRISONBURG, Va. - Despite overcoming a slow start to take a lead into the locker room, the Bridgewater Eagles women's basketball team couldn't overcome a lengthy second-half drought as it fell by a 57-48 score in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) action on Thursday evening in Yoder Arena.
Eastern Mennonite ran out to an early 9-0 lead as the Eagles opened the game by missing their first 10 shots from the floor. Bridgewater finally got on the board off of a Katelynn Hottinger jumper in the paint with 14:50 to go in the first half to trim the Royals' lead to 9-2.
Bridgewater's shooting troubles continued with the Royals pushing their lead to 13-3 with under 11 minutes to go in the first stanza before the Eagles responded in a big way.
Senior guard Jessica Mullen knocked in a layup to open a 10-0 run as the Eagles got out of their funk and knotted the game up at 13 points a piece off of a Holly Morgan layup with 6:26 to play in the opening frame.
After both teams traded scores, the Royals used a 5-0 run to build a 20-15 lead in the latter part of the half. Bianca Ygarza opened the run with a three-point play before a pair of Nora Osei free throws built a five-point Eastern Mennonite lead with 4:55 to play in the first.
Following the Osei free throws, Bridgewater scored 18 of the final 27 points of the first half to take a 33-29 lead into the locker room. Morgan got the run started with back-to-back jumpers before Jessi Strom put the Eagles in front with a pair of treys. Mullen scored with nine ticks left in the first half on a jumper before Keyla Baltimore sprinted back the floor and knocked in a layup to trim the Bridgewater lead to four at the break.
Bridgewater was stellar on the defensive end in the first half, limiting Eastern Mennonite to a 32% performance from the floor, while the Eagles shot 43% on the offensive end.
The second half saw a slow start from both teams as the Eagles maintained a four-point lead with 15:54 to play before things went ice-cold from the floor.
Baltimore hit a layup for the Royals to climb to within a score before a Shakeerah Sykes jumper knotted the contest up at 39 each with 13:02 remaining.
Over the next 12-plus minutes, Bridgewater's lone points would come from the charity stripe as the Eagles endured a lengthy drought and the Royals converted their shooting woes into a 15-4 run as Eastern Mennonite held a 54-43 lead before a Hottinger layup ended the cold-shooting performance for the Eagles to draw the deficit back to single digits.
Eastern Mennonite ran its lead to a dozen off of a Kala Yoders free throw before Strom hit a trey as time expired to finalize the scoring and hand Bridgewater a 57-48 loss.
Bridgewater held the Royals to their third-lowest scoring output of the season and held the conference's top scoring offense to 12 points under its season average.
Mullen led the way for Bridgewater with a game-high 15 points, while Strom added 11 in the loss.
Sophomore Shannan Thorne pulled down a team-high 10 boards to pace the way for the Eagles on the glass.
Eastern Mennonite was paced offensively by a 12-point effort from Baltimore.
Sykes led the Royals in the rebounding department with a game-high 11 boards as Eastern Mennonite owned a 42-41 edge in rebounds.
Bridgewater is back in action on Saturday in Nininger Hall when Emory & Henry comes to town. Tip off is set for 4 p.m.