Royals Hold Off Shorewomen, 58-55

Kendall, Mattox Score 10 Points Each in Loss

CHESTERTOWN, Md. -- Visiting Eastern Mennonite University never trailed and never held a double-digit lead while holding off host Washington College to post a 58-55 non-conference women's basketball victory tonight inside Cain Athletic Center. The Royals improved to 8-2 with the win, while the Shorewomen fell to 2-7 with the loss. 

The Royals led by as many as nine points in the first half and took a 33-28 lead into the intermission. Both teams struggled to score to start the second half, but the Shorewomen managed to trim the lead to two points, at 40-38 with 11:19 remaining, on a three-pointer by junior guard Jackie O'Connell (Northampton, Pa./Northampton Area). Bianca Ygarza made a pair of free throws on the other end for the Royals, but a jumper in the paint by senior forward Erin Fitzgerald (Greensboro, N.C./Bishop McGuiness) with 10:53 left trimmed the lead back to two at 42-40. Ygarza answered again with a fast-break lay-up with 9:48 to go and a pair of free throws with 9:15 left to push the lead to 46-40. 

A lay-up by Washington senior forward Latisha Pledger (Chesapeake, Va./Indian River) with 8:41 to play was answered by lay-up from Jess Rheinheimer 16 seconds later to make the score 48-42. The teams continued to trade points as a jumper by junior guard Emily Hubley (West Chester, Pa./Bayard Rustin) was countered by a pair of free throws from Keyla Baltimore to set the score at 50-44 with 7:00 to go. The Shorewomen then got a jumper from senior guard Claire Mattox (Arlington, Va./Potomac School) with 6:37 to play before Baltimore made two more free throws 17 seconds later to make it 52-46. Two free throws by Hubley with 4:30 remaining were answered 18 seconds later by a lay-up by Baltimore to make the score 54-48. 

The Royals were finally able to extend the lead to eight points on a lay-up by Shakeerah Sykes with 3:25 remaining. A three-pointer by O'Connell with 2:32 left and a put-back by sophomore forward Carley Kendall (Harleysville, Pa./Souderton Area) with 1:47 remaining pulled the Shorewomen back to within three points at 56-53. The Royals turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds, but an offensive foul call on a drive by Hubley gave Eastern Mennonite the ball back. Baltimore went to the line on that possession and made one of two free throws to give Eastern Mennonite a two-possession lead at 57-54 with 1:18 left. A Fitzgerald lay-up trickled off the rim with 58 seconds to go and Sykes grabbed the rebound. The Royals ran 30 seconds off the clock before Pledger stole the ball back for the Shorewomen, who called a time-out with 18 seconds left. O'Connell missed a short jumper with 11 seconds to go and Baltimore grabbed the rebound and was fouled one second later. Baltimore then made one of two free throws to put the game out of reach before Mattox scored on a put-back of her own miss as time expired to provide the final margin.   

Rheinheimer scored a game-high 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the floor, including 4-for-4 shooting from beyond the three-point arc and swiped three steals for the Royals. Ygarza added 13 points, a team-best nine rebounds, and three steals of her own, while Baltimore finished with 10 points and a game-high six assists. 

Kendall and Mattox each scored 10 points for the Shorewomen. Kendall also brought down eight boards, blocked a career-best four shots, and swiped three steals. Pledger added nine points and a game-best 12 rebounds.

Washington shot a higher percentage from the field (35.2% to 34.0% for the Royals), from three-point range (3-for-4 to 7-for-16), and from the free-throw line (87.5% to 68.0%) in the loss. The Shorewomen also turned the ball over two fewer times (21 to 23). The Royals did hold a slight 38-37 advantage on the glass. 

The Shorewomen return to action January 4th with a 4:00 p.m. non-conference game at Virginia Wesleyan.

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