BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Behind a career-high 17 points from junior Molly Shelley, the Bridgewater Eagles (12-9, 9-4 ODAC) women's basketball team cruised to a 63-52 victory over the Shenandoah Hornets on Wednesday evening in Nininger Hall.
Freshman Cassidy Burkholder got the Eagles on the board with the first two buckets of the game as Bridgewater owned a 4-0 lead with 18:35 to play in the first half.
Bridgewater's lead held at four points at an 8-4 tally until an 8-0 run from Shenandoah gave the Hornets a 12-8 advantage with 11:18 to play in the opening frame. Freshman Imani Heggins got the run started for the Hornets with a layup while Nicole Gilbertson tallied four points during the stretch.
Following the Shenandoah (10-12, 6-7 ODAC) run, the Eagles responded with one of their own to regain the lead.
Senior Katelynn Hottinger knocked in a pair of shots from the charity stripe to kick start an 8-0 Bridgewater run putting the Eagles up by a 16-12 margin with 6:06 to play in the first. Shelley keyed the run for the Eagles with four points.
Shenandoah netted three-straight points off of a three-point play from Gabrielle Clarke to get to within one at a 16-15 margin with 4:42 to play in the opening stanza before the Eagles used a big run to end the half.
Junior Holly Morgan hit a layup with 4:27 to play in the first half as the Eagles ended the frame on a 10-2 run to take a 26-17 lead into the locker room. Burkholder netted four points for the Eagles during the stretch and led all scorers in the first half with eight points.
Bridgewater's defense was outstanding during the first half, limiting Shenandoah to a 27.6% performance from the field. The Eagles defense also forced 16 Hornets miscues over the first 20 minutes of play.
Out of the intermission, Bridgewater pushed its lead to a dozen off of a three-point play from Hottinger with 18:49 remaining.
Shenandoah cut the lead back down to nine points, 31-22, off of a Gilbertson layup with 16:08 to play before Bridgewater used a 5-0 spurt to push its lead to a then game-high 14 points. Strom opened the spurt with a trey before a Burkholder jumper capped off the run to build a 36-22 advantage with 15:16 left.
After the Bridgewater run, the Hornets responded by scoring five of the next seven points to trim the Eagles' lead back to a manageable 11 points, 38-27, off of a Crystal Petrus three pointer with 14:02 remaining.
Bridgewater ran its lead to 15 points off of buckets from Morgan and Burkholder before another Petrus trey cut the lead to a dozen, 42-30 with 12:57 to play.
The Eagles answered the Petrus trey in a big way to effectively put the game away. Bridgewater used a 13-2 run over the next four and a half minutes to open up a commanding 55-32 lead with 8:24 remaining. Shelley knocked in seven points for the Eagles during the stretch.
Bridgewater's lead held at 23 points at a 59-36 margin with 6:48 to play before Shenandoah made a late-game push. Over the final nearly seven minutes of play, Bridgewater's lone points would come from a pair of Kelsie Floyd free throws and a Gabrielle Spinner jumper as the Hornets ended the game on a 16-4 run but it wasn't enough as Bridgewater rolled to an easy 63-52 victory.
Shelley's 17-point effort led the way for Bridgewater on the evening. Burkholder added 14 points in the win as Bridgewater outshot the visiting Hornets by a 49%-to-30% gap from the floor. Bridgewater's 49% effort from the floor was its second-best shooting performance of the season, behind a 51% effort at Hollins in November.
On the glass, Hottinger pulled down a team-high nine boards to pace the way for the Eagles.
Heggins posted a game-high 17 points for the Hornets, while Gilbertson added 10 in the loss.
Gilbertson pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to post a double-double and lead the Hornets to a 43-32 advantage on the glass.
Bridgewater is back in action on Saturday at Randolph-Macon. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.