DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bridgewater College opened up a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter Friday and held on down the stretch to defeat Bridgewater State, 57-52, at the Land of Magic Classic.
The Eagles struggled to put the ball in the basket in their first game at the Land of Magic Classic – an overtime loss to Clark University on Thursday – and those struggles continued in the first half against Bridgewater State. Bridgewater (5-5) made just 7-of-35 shots in the first half against the Bears and trailed by one, 22-21, at the break.
The Eagles found their touch in the third quarter, making 50 percent of their shots, to take the lead.
Bridgewater hit its first three shots of the second half to go on top 28-24. Madison Baum and Kaitlyn Lehan converted layups to put the Eagles ahead 25-22. After Kayla Carter scored for the Bears, Briana Moore tallied from long range to give the Eagles a 28-24 lead.
The Eagles maintained the lead until the 2:53 mark when Megan Ianiro hit a jumper to push the Bears out front 36-35. Bridgewater regained the lead on a layup by Lehan before a jumper by Sydni Carey put the Eagles lead at three, 39-36, entering the fourth quarter.
Midway through the final quarter, the Eagles led by five, 47-42. Bridgewater then reeled off five straight points to take a 10-point lead with 4:20 remaining. Moore hit two free throws and, following a missed shot by the Bears, Rebecca Harvey knocked down a 3-pointer, making the score 52-42.
The Bears refused to wilt and eventually trimmed the deficit to just two points with 19 seconds left. Bridgewater went more than three minutes without scoring as the Bears chipped away at the margin.
Destiny Fitzgerald and Sara DaSilva each scored to pull Bridgewater State to within 52-46 with 3:20 left on the clock. Fitzgerald scored again before a bucket inside by Lehan broke the Bridgewater dry spell and put the Eagles up 54-48 with 1:17 left. DaSilva scored to slice the margin to four before a steal and layup by Fitzgerald made it a two-point game, 54-52, with 19 seconds remaining.
The Bears fouled Moore with nine seconds left and the Eagles' junior calmly sank both free throws to push the lead to four, 56-52. The Bears turned the ball over and fouled Moore once again and this time she made 1-of-2 free throws for the final 57-52 margin of victory.
Moore led the Eagles with 17 points. Lehan added 16 points and Carey finished with nine points. Baum dished out seven assists and had just two turnovers in 31 minutes.
Bridgewater won the rebounding battle by a 39-37 margin. Baum, the Eagles' 5-2 point guard led the team with 10 rebounds and Lehan added eight.
The Eagles return to action Wednesday evening when they resume conference play at Virginia Wesleyan. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.