HARRISONBuRG, VA --- The season came to a close for EMU's basketball women Monday night, dropping a 76-68 decision to Shenandoah University in an ODAC Tournament First Round game. The Royals got as close as three points in the final minute before SU iced the game at the free throw line, earning the mild upset in the tourney's #8/#9 game.
The women end the year with a record of 13-12, while Shenandoah (12-14) advances to play top-seeded Emory & Henry on Thursday.
After giving up a quick seven points to start the game, EMU settled down and eventually tied the score for the first time at 24-24 when Cheyenne Suamataia-Teo ((Stafford, Va./Mountain View) converted a three-point play. The teams traded buckets for four minutes until the Hornets walked into halftime with a slight 36-33 lead.
Late in the third, the Royals finally earned their first lead on a beautiful play from their two seniors. Brianna Zook (Harrisonburg, Va./Broadway) found Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) inside, and Walker got the hoop, the harm and the free throw for a 48-47 lead with 1:46 left in the quarter.
Shenandoah scored on back-to-back possessions to retake the lead, but the women locked it up at the final break when Lindsey Krisak (Alexandria, Va./Thomas A. Edison) found a loose ball under her own hoop and put it back in for a 52-52 tie.
Jourdyn Friend (Richmond, Va./Meadowbrook) got a pair of second chance buckets early the fourth, bumping the Royals ahead 56-54, but SU got their own second look with a three pointer from Jordan Sondrol. After a miss from EMU, another Hornet triple suddenly built a little 60-56 cushion.
Kirstyn Arcada scored five straight for Shenandoah to inflate a 67-59 cushion with 2:35 to play, but Chrissy Delawder (Broadway, Va./Broadway) buried a three off an inbounds play to cut the lead to five. The Royals nearly had life when their fullcourt pressure forced a turnover, but a missed layup changed the strategy.
Choosing to rely on their three point prowess, the women started fouling. After a single SU free throw, Krisak nailed a triple to make it a 68-65 game with 1:16 remaining. The Royals missed on their next possession before Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) hit from outside to again draw within three at 71-68 with 30 seconds to go.
But that would be the women's last points and Shenandoah got out on EMU's shooters and produced the final margin by connecting on 5-of-6 free throws over the final 26 seconds.
The Hornets did their stinging from all over the court, shooting 47% from the floor, including 9-of-23 from outside for 39%. SU also finished 19-24 from the free throw line. Eastern Mennonite shot 37%, but only 5-for-21 from three. They kept in the game by grabbing 18 offensive rebounds for a 24-7 advantage in second chance points.
Jess Washington (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) led the Royals with 16 points and seven rebounds, including four off the offensive glass. Walker added 12 points and six rebounds in her final game. The All-ODAC guard finishes with 955 points in her career. Krisak scored 14 with five boards.
Arcata went off for a season high 28 points on 9-for-14 shooting. Sondrol had 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.