LEXINGTON, Va. – Senior forward Ailyn Kelly (Clifton, Va. / Centreville) tallied a game-high 23 points to lead Washington and Lee to a 75-64 victory over Eastern Mennonite in ODAC women's basketball action on Wednesday night at the Warner Center.
The two teams entered the fourth period with W&L (8-3, 2-1) holding a slim 51-47 lead. The Royals (7-3, 2-1) opened the quarter with a three from sophomore guard Lexi Deffenbaugh and a layup by senior guard Mynesia Walker to take a 52-51 advantage with 9:18 remaining. Kelly split a pair of free throws on W&L's next possession to tie it 52-52 with 9:04 left. Both teams exchanged baskets over the next three minutes with the score remaining tied (59-59) with 6:57 remaining.
The Generals then went on an 8-0 run to assume a 67-59 advantage with 3:51 left with Kelly and first-year guard Katie Popp (Rye, N.Y. / Rye) each scoring four points. Kelly scored the first four points of the run, while Popp tallied the final four points. Senior forward Briana Zook hit a layup and split a pair of free throws to pull the Royals within five (67-62) with 2:54 remaining.
That would be as close as EMU would get, however, as W&L responded eight straight points to close out the contest. Kelly started the run with a three-pointer at the 2:33 mark, and then sophomore guard Taylor Casey (Brentwood, Tenn. / Franklin Road Academy) converted an old-fashioned three-point play to push W&L's lead to double digits (73-62) with less than a minute remaining. Casey added two more free throws and a layup by EMU in the last 10 seconds pushed the score to its final margin.
Kelly went 3-of-4 from behind the arc and hit 10-of-12 from the foul line and she grabbed five rebounds. She also tallied 13 of her 23 points in the final period. Popp totaled 15 points and three assists, while senior guard Emily Perszyk (Greendale, Wis. / Greendale) tallied 12 points and six rebounds. First-year guard Erin Hughes (Raleigh, N.C. / Ravenscroft School) added 11 points and a career-high four blocks.
EMU held a 40-34 advantage on the glass, but the Generals had just 12 turnovers compared to EMU's 21. W&L also had nine steals and nine blocks, compared to just five steals and one block for the Royals.
Zook led EMU with 22 points, while Walker tallied 15 points and six rebounds.
Washington and Lee returns to action on Friday when it hosts Guilford for a 5:00 pm contest.
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