BRIDGEWATER, Va. – After securing an opening round bye for the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) tournament, the fourth-seeded Bridgewater Eagles women's basketball will play against fifth-seeded Lynchburg on Thursday at 3 p.m. in quarterfinal round action at the Salem Civic Center.
Bridgewater locked down one of the top four seeds with its weekend victory over Roanoke. The Eagles finished the 2012-13 season with a 14-10 overall record but owned an 11-5 mark in conference play.
Lynchburg earned a trip to the Civic Center with an 83-70 victory over Randolph College on Monday evening in Lynchburg in a 5 vs. 12 matchup in the opening round.
On Monday evening, the Hornets held off a pesky Randolph bunch to secure a 13-point win and the program's first victory in the conference tournament since the 1989-90 season. The win was historic for Lynchburg, giving the Hornets 17 wins on the season, the most for the program since the 1989-90 campaign.
Lynchburg led by as many as seven in the first half and held a 40-36 edge at halftime. A 12-0 run early in the second half put LC ahead 54-38 with 16 minutes left to play, but the WildCats fought back late in the contest to trail by just six, 69-63. Lynchburg sealed the win from the free-throw line, scoring its last eight points from the charity stripe. Sophomore forward Shannon Allan scored a game-high 21 points, and added seven rebounds and three blocked shots to pace the way for the Hornets.
In the lone matchup between the two teams this season, freshman Jessi Strom knocked in a trey with 2:20 to play in regulation to break a late-game deadlock and scored the final point of the contest on a free throw as the Eagles stormed back from a halftime deficit to upend Lynchburg by a 52-50 tally. Strom and senior Jessica Mullen led the Eagles in the game with a team-high 13 points each.
Allan continues to perform at a high level on the offensive end for the Hornets. The sophomore is the second-leading scorer in the ODAC, averaging 18.1 points per game. Allan has been in double figures in all but three games this season and netted a career-high 33 points in Lynchburg's victory over Randolph-Macon in the regular season finale. On the year, the Hornets shoot at a 39.8% clip from the floor which ranks them third in the ODAC.
Sophomore Lauren Penley paces the Hornets on the glass with seven rebounds per game. Lynchburg ranks fourth in the league in rebounding, averaging 42 boards per game.
Bridgewater's offense continues to see the emergence of a number of new scoring threats as the season progresses. While Mullen continues to lead the Eagles offense with 16.2 points per game, junior Holly Morgan re-emerged last week as a consistent number two scorer. Morgan has averaged 18.3 points per game over the last three contests including a career-high 20 points in Saturday's victory over Roanoke in the regular season finale.
Aside from the production of Morgan and Mullen, senior Katelynn Hottinger has also been nearing double-double numbers in the last five games. Hottinger ended the season with a dozen points against Roanoke and has averaged nine boards per game over the last two weeks. Sophomore Shannan Thorne leads the Eagles on the glass with nine rebounds per game, good enough for third in the league. Overall, Bridgewater's 43.2 rebounds per game ranks second in the league.
The winner of Thursday afternoon's game will meet up with the winner of the Eastern Mennonite vs. Washington and Lee game on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at the Salem Civic Center.
Thursday's contest will air live on Fresh 96.1 FM in the Shenandoah Valley with pregame set for 2:30 p.m. Live video and live stats will also be available, courtesy of the ODAC.