VIRGINIA BEACH -- Persistent defensive pressure.
That was the key to an impressive victory for Virginia Wesleyan College's women's basketball team on Tuesday as the Marlins posted a 55-33 non-conference decision over the Monarchs of Methodist University at the Jane P. Batten Student Center.
Virginia Wesleyan (5-1) kept the pressure on the Monarchs (4-5) from start-to-finish, helping force the team from Fayetteville, N.C. into 28 turnovers. Virginia Wesleyan picked up 15 steals in the effort, led by juniorRachael Miller (Sterling, Va./Park View) with a career-high six, tying the fourth highest single-game total in VWC history.
VWC's overall effort allowed the lowest total of points by a Marlin team since surrendering 32 points to Randolph College in 2007. The 33 points scored by Methodist tied the ninth lowest total in Virginia Wesleyan history.
The Marlins trailed 2-1 after Christina Schrader (Carrollton, Ohio/Carrollton) hit a jumper for the Monarchs, but Virginia Wesleyan took the lead for good when Shawnee Lewis (Alexandria, Va./Thomas A. Edison) answered with a jumper off a feed from Beth Ann Boyce (Colonial Heights, Va./Colonial Heights). That basket ignited a 23-7 scoring run for the Marlins, who never looked back.
Virginia Wesleyan led 24-9 with 7:03 remaining to be played in the first half and expanded the gap to 32-15 by halftime. SeniorJocelyn Spencer (Newport News, Va./Hampton Roads Academy), rookie Brittany Glasco (Fredericksburg, Va./Massaponax), and sophomoreSymonne Newsome (Reistertown, Md./St. Paul's School for Girls) sparked the first half attack.
Methodist, which three days earlier pinned the first loss of the season on then No. 19 ranked Christopher Newport University on the Captains' court, pulled within 15 points behind Jackie Lyles (Brown Summit, N.C./River Mill Academy) and Schrader early in the second half, but got no closer.
A 12-2 run by Virginia Wesleyan, including timely scores from rookie Nancy Kelly (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney), opened up a 46-21 lead for the Marlins with 11:32 remaining in the game. Methodist never got closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
Spencer and Glasco led Virginia Wesleyan scoring with 12 points each. While Spencer hit 5-of-9 field goal attempts, Glasco connected on 4-of-5 attempts. VWC edged MU 42-41 on the boards, led by Kelly with seen rebounds. Miller added game-high totals with four assists and six steals.
Schrader finished as the overall leader for Methodist, scoring nine points and pulling down nine rebounds. Lyles finished with seven points and eight rebounds.
Virginia Wesleyan returns to competition on Saturday, Dec. 10, in Old Dominion Athletic Conference competition. It will be an early-season showdown of conference leaders as the Marlins, currently 3-0 in the league, host the Royals of Eastern Mennonite University at 4 p.m. EMU is currently 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the league.