HARRISONBURG, VA --- As the horn sounded and Virginia Wesleyan's last second shot hit off the rim, the Royals bench rushed the court as the EMU basketball women escaped with a 65-64 win over the Marlins to earn their first conference win of the year.
With the win the Royals improve to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in ODAC play while Virginia Wesleyan falls to 3-4 and 1-1 in the ODAC. Chrissy Delawder (Broadway, Va./Broadway) led the charge for the Royals with 12 points and seven rebounds, six of which were offensive. Lexi Deffenbaugh (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) helped share the wealth as she had a career high in assists with nine.
EMU set the pace in the first quarter going on an 11-0 run after the Marlins made their first shot of the game. Jess Washington (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) scored six of the first nine Royals points during that span.
The Marlins chipped away at the EMU lead in the second quarter to go into halftime only down 34-29 after a last second made layup before the buzzer.
The third quarter began with Virginia Wesleyan charging back to take 39-38 lead after a made three pointer by Jayla Harris who finished as the Marlins leading scorer with 24 points. The teams exchanged leads until Deffenbaugh and Lindsey Krisak (Alexandria, Va./Thomas A. Edison) made back-to-back three pointers to give EMU a 55-53 advantage heading into the final quarter.
The teams were tied at 59 for almost a two-minute span before Krisak capitalized on a three-point play with 4:22 left. Precious Waddy (Richmond, Va./Henrico) added a jump shot and Washington made her final free throw to put the Royals at 65-61 with 2:28 remaining on the clock.
With 48 seconds left, Mak McSweeney made the most of a three-point play to bring the Marlins to 64 after the made free throw. The Royals ran the clock down, but were unable to come up with points on their last possession giving Virginia Wesleyan one last opportunity only down by one point with 18 seconds.
Emily McCombs (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) deflected a pass at the seven second mark and knocked the ball out of bounds forcing a Marlins inbound.
Jayla Harris received the inbound pass and fired up one last attempt from mid-range that came up short as the buzzer went off signaling the end of the game.
Both teams shot fairly evenly as Virginia Wesleyan shot 41.8% (23-55) from the field while EMU shot 42.6% (26-61).
Lexi Dean (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) helped defensively off the bench with seven rebounds and two blocks to go along with her six points. Waddy finished with eight points and McCombs had nine points and seven rebounds for the Royals.
Next game for the basketball women is on Saturday, December 1, as they head down to Guilford for a 2:00pm tip-off.