Fast start helps Women’s Basketball past EMU, 81-52

Kate Groninger

HARRISONBURG, Va. – A 30-5 opening-quarter margin propelled the Washington and Lee women's basketball team to an 81-52 victory at Eastern Mennonite on Wednesday night in ODAC action.

The Generals (5-3, 3-2 ODAC) came out with hot hands, opening the game on a 12-0 run before a Royals (2-7, 1-3 ODAC) free throw ended the streak. Five different Generals made a field goal over the course of the run, before W&L scored another 11 points in a row to move ahead, 23-1, at the 2:24 mark in the frame. They Royals found the bottom of the net a pair of times before the period ended, but the Generals extended their lead to 30-5 by the end of the first.

W&L shot 12-of-18 (.667) from the field in the opening period, including 4-for-8 on three pointers, and held the Royals to just 2-of-19 shooting in the frame, with the Royals' first made field goal coming at the 2:07 mark. The 30 points in the quarter marks a program record for most points in a quarter since the NCAA moved from a two-half game format to a four-quarter format (2015-16 season). In addition, the 25-point margin of victory in the quarter set a record for largest in any quarter for the Generals in that time.

The second quarter saw a much more balanced game as both teams exchanged small runs, ending the quarter, 12-12, to give W&L a 42-17 lead going into halftime.

The third quarter was highlighted by a 7-0 run and a 9-0 run for the Generals to help W&L edge the Royals, 25-19, in the period, before EMU gained two points over the course of the fourth quarter, 16-14, to yield the final margin.

Sophomore guard/forward Erin Hughes (Raleigh, N.C. / Ravenscroft School) led the way for W&L with a career-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and 2-for-4 from beyond the arc. Hughes narrowly missed her first career double-double, notching a career-best nine boards while adding two assists.

Junior guard Taylor Casey (Brentwood, Tenn. / Franklin Road Academy) tallied 17 points and seven rebounds, while first-year guards Megan Horn (Basking Ridge, N.J. / The Pingry School) and Erin Addison (Waxhaw, N.C. / Weddington) scored 10 each to mark the first game that W&L had four players reach double-digit points since five Generals scored in double figures on February 22 of last season against Guilford.

First-year guard/forward Jordan Diehl (Springboro, Ohio / Springboro) chipped in seven points and eight rebounds, with junior forward Andy Smithey (Charlotte, N.C. / Saint Mary's School) also grabbing eight boards, to go along with five points on 2-of-3 from the field.

The Royals were led by sophomore guard Emily McCombs, who scored 10 points, followed by senior forward Jess Washington at nine points and first-year forward Lexi Dean with eight.

The Generals made 28-of-67 (.418) shots from the field, including 10-of-24 (.417) from long range, while connecting on 15-of-24 (.625) free throws to produce their first 80-point game since putting up 92 at Bridgewater on January 8 of last season. W&L limited EMU to 20-of-63 (.317) from the field and 3-of-16 (.188) on triples.

For the game, the Generals outrebounded the Royals, 49-33, the most team rebounds in a game for W&L since tallying 56 boards in a 78-62 win at Gallaudet last season (11/21). They also edged EMU in bench points, 36-24, and second-chance points, 13-4. Despite the loss, the Royals held advantages over the Generals in fastbreak points (13-8) and points in the paint (34-30).

The Generals will return to action on Saturday, December 15, when they host Mary Washington in a 2:00 pm nonconference matchup at the Duchossois Tennis Center.

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