Generals hold off late rally from No. 15/21 E&H, upset Wasps, 71-62

Erin Hughes

LEXINGTON, Va. – A late Emory & Henry rally was halted, as the Washington and Lee women's basketball team upset the 15th/21st-ranked Wasps, 71-62, on Saturday afternoon in ODAC action.

The Wasps, ranked 15th in the most recent poll and 21st by the WBCA, suffered their first loss of the season (6-1, 2-1 ODAC), while the Generals improved to 4-2 overall, 2-1 in conference, with the win, their first victory against a ranked opponent since defeating No. 24 Mary Washington, 60-55, on November 15 of last season.

The Generals scored the first nine points of the game, starting with a three pointer from first-year guard Megan Horn (Basking Ridge, N.J./The Pingry School), followed by a pair of free throws from junior forward Andy Smithey (Charlotte, N.C./Saint Mary's School), and four points from junior guard Taylor Casey (Brentwood, Tenn./Franklin Road Academy). The overall first run of the game favored W&L, 12-2, but the Wasps recovered, edging the Generals, 9-8, the remainder of the quarter to trail, 20-11, after the opening frame.

Over the first five minutes, of the second quarter, the Wasps slowly chipped away at their deficit and pulled the game back to 26-21 in favor of W&L. But three pointers on back-to-back possessions from W&L first-year guard/forward Jordan Diehl (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) and first-year guard Kate Groninger (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) put the Generals back up by 11 points with a 1:30 to play in the half.

Both teams exchanged two points each after that, as the Generals went into halftime with a 34-23 lead.

The Generals kept up the scoring to begin the second half, opening on a 10-2 run, led by Smithey with four points to end the run, to give the Generals a 19-point lead with 5:11 remaining in the third, their largest of the game. An 11-3 run from E&H got the Wasps back to within 11 points, before the Generals gained one on their lead over the final two minutes to go ahead, 52-40, heading to the fourth.

E&H made their case for the comeback win when they began the final frame on a 13-4 run that spanned 5:08 to get to within three points. The W&L lead was cut to as little as two (58-56), before sophomore guard/forward Erin Hughes (Raleigh, N.C./Ravenscroft School) banked in a layup and nailed a jumper on consecutive possessions to get the Generals ahead by six.

Over the final 1:04, clutch free throw shooting iced the game away for W&L, as Horn hit three free throws and Casey nailed all six of her attempts to yield the final result.

Horn tied her season high of 22 points, which she set in the Generals' previous game, as she hit on 7-of-17 shots from the field and 5-of-11 attempts from long range. She also contributed four rebounds and three assists to pace the offense. Casey scored 17 points on 5-of-12 from the field with all six of her free throw attempts in the game coming in the final 64 seconds. Casey has scored at least 12 points in every game this season (20.8 points per game).

Diehl finished with nine points, making three of her five shots in the game, and pulled down eight board, dished out three assists and came away with three steals. Smithey tallied six points and seven rebounds and first-year guard Erin Addison (Waxhaw, N.C./Weddington) contributed four points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals in 22 minutes off the bench.

The Wasps were led by junior forward Sydney McKinney and senior forward Taylor Blevins. McKinney scored 18 points and recorded seven rebounds, while Blevins made 5-of-8 shots to finish with 17 points. Blevins added five rebounds, a steal and a block in the game.

W&L shot 24-of-67 (.358) from the field in the game to E&H's 22-of-57 (.386), but limited the Wasps to just one made three pointer on 12 attempts (.083). The Generals won the turnover battle, 18-14, and finished with more second-chance points (17-5) and points off turnovers (21-15). E&H edged W&L in points in the paint, 36-20, and fastbreak points, 10-8.

The Generals will return to the court on Monday when they host Roanoke at 7:00 pm in a rematch of a November 20 contest that the Generals claimed, 79-65.

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