SALEM, Va. – The Bridgewater Eagles women's basketball team couldn't overcome a 27% effort from the floor as the Eagles fell to Lynchburg College by a 51-47 tally in the opening round of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) tournament at the Salem Civic Center.
Lynchburg (18-9) jumped all over the Eagles early in the contest as Bridgewater struggled from the floor over the first 10 minutes of the opening stanza. Bridgewater led by a 3-2 score off of a Cassidy Burkholder trey before the Hornets responded with a 10-0 run to own a 12-3 lead with 13:03 to play in the opening frame.
Bridgewater ended the Lynchburg spurt with a Katelynn Hottinger layup to trim the gap to seven at a 12-5 tally before the Hornets knocked in a layup to push their lead back to nine points with 11 and a half to play in the first half.
Following the Lynchburg bucket, the Eagles used a pressure defense to get the Hornets out of rhythm while Bridgewater slowly trimmed gap. With 8:30 to play in the opening stanza, Jessica Mullen hit a jumper to bring the game to a 14-7 Lynchburg lead. Lynchburg responded yet again with a jumper before going cold from the floor.
Mullen knocked in another jumper as the Eagles defense forced a number of Hornets miscues and used a 13-0 run to take the lead back at a 20-16 tally with 1:22 to play in the first half. During the stretch, the Eagles used a balanced attack with the run being capped off by a pair of Shannan Thorne layups.
Lynchburg netted the final points of the first half as Ann Dorris knocked in a pair of free throws in the waning seconds to cut the Bridgewater lead to 20-18 at the intermission. The free throws ended a more than seven minute scoreless stretch for the Hornets.
Bridgewater shot just 25% from the floor in the opening half after a 1-for-11 start. Mullen led the Eagles in the first half with six points while Penley added six for the Hornets to pace a Lynchburg attack that shot just 26.7% from the field.
Out of the halftime break, the Hornets used a three-point play from Chaney Forbush to regain the lead before building a 23-20 lead with just under 19 minutes to go.
Bridgewater answered with a 7-3 run, capped off by five quick points from Holly Morgan as the Eagles regained the lead at a 27-26 tally in a back-and-forth affair with 17 and change remaining.
Morgan knocked in another trey, her third of the game, to put the Eagles up by four points before Thorne netted a free throw to put the Eagles up 31-26 with 15 and a half to play.
The Eagles ran their lead to as high as six off of a Jessi Strom three-pointer but Lynchburg wouldn't go away. Lynchburg used a 7-0 run to regain the lead as a Shannon Allan jumper capped off the run to give the Hornets a 35-34 advantage with 12:47 left, forcing a Bridgewater timeout.
Out of the timeout, Allan knocked in another jumper to extend the Lynchburg lead to three before Sarah Coon banked in a layup to push the Hornets advantage to five at a 39-34 margin with 10:46 to go.
Morgan ended the 11-0 Lynchburg run with a trey to carve the Lynchburg lead to two as the clock ticked underneath 10 minutes to play.
Both teams traded scores over the next four minutes with Lynchburg hanging onto a 42-39 lead with less than seven minutes to play before a stick-back on the offensive end by Penley pushed the Hornets lead back to five at a 44-39 margin with 6:28 remaining.
Lynchburg led by as many as seven points with 4:36 to play until both teams went cold from the floor with the Hornets owning a 48-42 lead with under two minutes to play.
Burkholder deflected the ball away in the midcourt to set up a Hottinger jumper in the paint with 1:43 remaining as the Eagles cut the Lynchburg lead to four at a 48-44 margin in the waning minutes.
On the ensuing Lynchburg possession, Hottinger blocked an Allan jumper in the lane before banking in a jumper in the paint at the other end to trim the Hornets' lead to two, 48-46, with under a minute to play.
Bridgewater regained possession after a missed Lynchburg layup and used a timeout with 27 seconds left to set the offense. Out of the timeout, the Eagles turned the ball over and were forced to foul.
Dorris calmly sank the front end of a one-and-one before Hottinger came down with a rebound and was fouled and hit the front end of a pair of free throws to cut the margin to 49-47 with 6.2 seconds before the Eagles used a timeout. Hottinger missed the back end before the Hornets grabbed the rebound and went to the charity stripe with three ticks remaining.
Allan knocked in both free throws to finalize the scoring, handing the Eagles a 51-47 defeat.
Morgan tallied a game-high 15 points to lead the way for the Eagles on the offensive end. Hottinger added nine and Mullen netted eight in their final games in the Crimson and Vegas Gold.
On the glass, Thorne pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds to lead the way for the Eagles.
Allan netted a game-high 15 points for the Hornets as part of a double-double effort.
The forward rounded out the double-double with a team-high 12 rebounds as Lynchburg outrebounded the Eagles by a 49-43 margin.
Bridgewater wraps up the season with a 14-11 overall record.