BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Behind a defense that forced 36 turnovers and an offense that produced three players in double figures, the Bridgewater Eagles women's basketball team rolled to a 78-56 victory over the visiting Emory & Henry Wasps on Saturday afternoon in Nininger Hall.
Junior Holly Morgan opened the scoring for the Eagles with a jumper just six seconds into the contest to open an early Bridgewater run. Bridgewater opened a 9-2 lead over the Wasps with 17:37 to play in the first half as Morgan bookended the run with a jumper, forcing an Emory & Henry timeout.
Emory & Henry ended the run with a made free throw to chip the Bridgewater lead to 9-3 as the game shifted to a back-and-forth affair.
Bridgewater built its lead to double digits off of a layup from Katelynn Hottinger and a pair of made free throws from freshman Jessi Strom to run the lead to 13-3 with 16:36 remaining in the opening frame.
Both teams traded scores over the next three-plus minutes with the Eagles owning a 17-8 lead with 14:09 left in the first half before Emory & Henry used a run of its own to draw the lead to a manageable four points at a 17-13 tally with 12:46 to play in the half off of a Jalan McPherson trey.
Bridgewater's lead held at four points at a 19-15 margin before the Eagles used layups from Kelsie Floyd, Jessica Mullen and Morgan to push the lead back to double figures. The Bridgewater spurt continued with a Hottinger made free throw and a Strom jumper as the Eagles pushed their advantage to 28-15 with 5:50 to play in the opening stanza.
Back-to-back buckets from the Wasps cut the Bridgewater lead back to nine before a Strom jumper and another Mullen layup pushed the Eagles' lead to 13 at a 32-19 gap with 2:42 remaining in the first.
Emory & Henry carved the Bridgewater lead to as low as 10 off of a Tenesha Connor three-pointer with 62 ticks left in the first before the Eagles tallied five straight points to build a 15-point lead, 41-26, with 19 seconds to play in the first frame.
Connor finalized the first half scoring with a layup as the Eagles took a 41-28 lead into the intermission.
In the opening 20 minutes, both teams committed 15 turnovers each. Bridgewater outshot Emory & Henry by a 45%-to-35% margin in the opening half of play as the Eagles converted 15 of their 35 scoring attempts from the floor. Bridgewater also owned a 22-to-10 advantage in the paint in the opening half of play.
Out of the halftime break, the Wasps scored first before Bridgewater used a 7-0 run to build its biggest lead to that point in the contest. Mullen opened the run with a layup and a trey before a pair of made free throws from Strom pushed the Bridgewater advantage to 48-30 with 18 minutes to play.
Bridgewater's lead went to 20 points off of a Hottinger layup with 15:28 remaining as the Eagles built a 54-34 lead over the Wasps.
A Hottinger bucket from the charity stripe and a Mullen layup extended the lead to 23 before a Mullen three-pointer extended the Bridgewater advantage to a game-high 26 points at a 60-34 margin with 13:34 remaining.
Following the Mullen three, the Wasps went on a 9-4 run to cut the Bridgewater lead to 21 points with 10 and change to play. Carlita Hamm was stellar for the Wasps during the run, scoring seven of Emory & Henry's nine points.
Bridgewater answered with four straight points off of a pair of Cassidy Burkholder free throws and a Mullen layup as the Eagles owned a 68-43 lead with 8:58 to play.
Over the next three-and-a-half minutes the Wasps used another run to get the Bridgewater lead to 21 points but it was as close as the contest would get as the Eagles eventually rolled to a 78-56 victory in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) action.
Mullen paced three Eagles in double figures with a game-high 20 points. Morgan was outstanding for the Eagles, chipping in 18 points on an 8-of-10 performance from the floor. Hottinger continued to impress, tallying a season-high 17 points as part of a double-double effort.
On the glass, Hottinger pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds in the win as Bridgewater outrebounded Emory & Henry by a 40-to-36 gap.
Emory & Henry was paced on the offensive end by a pair of nine-point efforts from Michelle Williams and Karina Farr.
Haley Gilbert led the way for Emory & Henry in the rebounding department with a team-high six boards in just five minutes of action.
Bridgewater is back in action on Thursday when it hosts Washington and Lee. Start time against the Generals is set for 7 p.m. Thursday's game also marks Bridgewater's Black Out Game as the Eagles raise awareness and funds for Melanoma Research.