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Slow Start Costs Eagles in 77-54 Loss to Eastern Mennonite

Slow Start Costs Eagles in 77-54 Loss to Eastern Mennonite

BRIDGEWATER, Va. – In the regular season finale in Nininger Hall, the Bridgewater Eagles women's basketball team struggled from the floor early in the first half and allowed the visiting Eastern Mennonite Royals to build an early lead as the Eagles fell by a 77-54 tally on Tuesday evening in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) action.

Both teams traded scores in the opening minutes of the contest with Bridgewater owning a 4-3 lead off of a Cassidy Burkholder bucket with 16:53 to play in the opening frame.

Eastern Mennonite answered with an 18-2 run over the next five and change of the first half as Bridgewater found itself in a 21-6 hole with 11:29 to play. Keyla Baltimore sparked the run for the Royals with eight points during the stretch.

Junior Holly Morgan ended the Eastern Mennonite surge with a made free throw before a Jessi Strom jumper cut the Royals' lead to nine at a 21-9 tally with 10:11 left in the opening frame.

Bridgewater trimmed the Eastern Mennonite lead to 11 off of a three-point play from senior Jessica Mullen before the Royals used a 10-0 run to build a 33-12 advantage with 5:58 to go in the first.

Following the spurt from the Royals, Mullen knocked in a jumper and junior Molly Shelley buried a trey to get Bridgewater to within 16, 33-17, with 4:52 left in the first stanza.

The Eastern Mennonite lead held at 16 points at a 37-21 tally with 1:44 to play in the opening frame, before the Eagles scored four of the final six points of the half to cut the Royals' lead to 39-25 at the break.

Out of the intermission, Eastern Mennonite struck first and scored the first 11 points of the second half to run out to a 25-point lead at a 50-25 margin with 16:10 left to play. Burkholder ended the run with a layup with 15:46 to go before the Royals answered right back with an Alisa Brown layup.

After the Brown layup, Bridgewater responded with a 9-0 run to cut the Eastern Mennonite lead to a manageable 16 points at a 52-36 tally with 13:01 remaining. Morgan opened the run with a layup before sophomore Kelsie Floyd capped the stretch off with a made free throw.

Eastern Mennonite answered with a Jess Rheinheimer layup and a Brown free throw to push the lead back to 19, 55-36. The Royals ran their lead to 23, 59-36, before Bridgewater made a run to cut the advantage to 17. Hottinger hit a free throw to open the run before back-to-back Shannan Thorne free throws capped off a 6-1 Eagles spurt.

Bridgewater worked the Eastern Mennonite lead to 15 with 6:22 to play but it was as close as the Eagles would get as the Royals rolled to a 77-54 victory.

The Eagles were paced by a game-high 18 points from Morgan. Mullen chipped in a dozen in her final regular-season contest in Nininger Hall.

On the glass, Thorne pulled down a team high nine rebounds to lead the way for the Eagles.

Five players in double figures paced a solid Eastern Mennonite attack. Brown led the way with a team-high 13 points as the Royals shot 50% on the evening from the floor.  

Shakeerah Sykes pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds to record a 10-point, 11 rebound double-double.

Bridgewater is back in action on Saturday in the regular season finale at Roanoke. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.