SALEM, Va. – A hot-shooting first half from first-year guard Kate Groninger (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) provided early momentum for the Washington and Lee women's basketball team in its 83-62 ODAC semifinal win over Roanoke at the Salem Civic Center on Saturday night.
With the win, the Generals advance to their second ODAC Championship game in program history, first since the 2009-10 season. In addition, the win propels the Generals to 19-8 overall, tying the program record for most wins a season (2010-11). The Maroons ended their season at 18-10 overall.
Over the first 4:20 of the first quarter, the Generals edged the Maroons, 7-6, before going on a 10-2 run, including scoring seven points in a row at one point. Groninger made all three of her shot attempts during the run, scoring six of the 10 points. The period ended with the two teams splitting four points, as the Generals went into the second quarter with a 19-10 lead.
The start of the second quarter was evenly matched, with both sides scoring five points to keep the Generals ahead by nine. Roanoke then went on a 10-4 run to cut the Generals' lead down to 28-20 with just over half of the period remaining.
The Generals then began to pull away when they went on a 14-3 run, which included 11 straight W&L points, to claim a 42-23 lead. During that run, Groninger and junior guard Taylor Casey (Brentwood, Tenn./Franklin Road Academy) both splashed home a pair of triples to lead the Generals with six points each.
Roanoke first-year guard Whitney Hopson closed the Maroons' scoring in the first half with a jumper with 36 seconds on the clock, before Groninger answered with yet another three pointer to push the W&L lead to a first-half high 20 points, sending the Generals into halftime ahead, 45-25.
Groninger finished the first half with 15 points on 6-for-6 shooting from the field, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, to lead all scorers through 20 minutes of play.
The Maroons used a 12-5 run to start the second half to threaten the W&L lead, before the teams exchanged five points each, to keep W&L ahead, 55-41. The Generals followed that with a quick 11-1 run to move out in front, 66-42, their largest lead of the game. The period ended with both teams trading two points to keep W&L in front by 24 points leading into the final quarter.
Roanoke held the Generals scoreless through more than four minutes of the fourth quarter, while scoring 10 points to get back to within 14 points (68-54) at the 6:35 mark. But the Generals broke out of their cold streak, outscoring the Maroons 15-8 the rest of the way, which included an 11-3 run immediately following the 10-0 run from Roanoke.
Groninger finished the game with a season-high 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, including 4-for-5 from beyond the arc and a perfect 4-for-4 at the foul line. She also added five rebounds, an assist and two steals to her line. Casey finished the game with 17 points on 5-of-11 field-goal shooting, 4-for-7 from long range, to go along with two rebounds and three steals.
Sophomore guard Erin Hughes (Raleigh, N.C./Ravenscroft School) scored 15 points and pulled down six rebounds, dished out two assists and came away with two steals.
First-year guard Megan Horn (Basking Ridge, N.J./The Pingry School) tallied five points and one assist, but crossed the 100-assist mark for the season with the helper. In doing so, Horn became the first W&L player with 100 assists in a season since Meg Ingram '12 finished her senior season with 115. Additionally, Horn is now just the second player in school history to record 100 assists and 100 rebounds in the same season. The only other General to do so is Louisa Feve '06, who recorded two such seasons in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
First-year guard Erin Addison (Waxhaw, N.C./Weddington) rounded out the W&L double-digit scorers in the game, notching 12 points on 3-for-5 shooting from the floor, 6-for-6 at the free throw line, and handing out six assists, one short of her season high.
The Generals finished the game with a .481 field goal percentage (25-of-52) and connected on 12 of their 23 three-point shots. With the 12 made triples, the Generals not only set a program record for most made three pointers in a season (196), but also set a record with their seventh game of 10 or more made three pointers, both marks standing since the 2010-11 campaign.
The Maroons were led on offense by Hopson, who scored 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the floor, to go along with two rebounds and two steals. Junior guard Molly Hassell chipped in 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Roanoke shot 37.3 percent (25-of-67) from the floor in the game, including 25 percent (5-of-20) on three pointers, while connecting on just 53.8 percent (7-of-13) of its foul shots. The Maroons held an edge over the Generals in points off turnovers (15-11), second-chance points (9-6), points in the paint (30-24) and fast break points (7-0), but the Generals held the bench points advantage at 37-15.
The Generals will face-off with eighth-seeded Shenandoah on Sunday at 3:30 pm at the Salem Civic Center for the ODAC crown. The two teams met once during the regular season, a 77-65 W&L win in Lexington on January 26.