FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Sophomore guard Jessica Mullen (Purcellville, Va./Loudon Valley) buried a career-high 23 points and led three players in double figures as the Bridgewater Eagles women's basketball team used an efficient afternoon from the field and a stingy defense to drop NAIA Manchester by a 73-56 score at the Cruzin' Classic.
After trading scores for the first four minutes, junior Jenny Logan (Luray, Va./Luray) buried a jumper to put the Eagles ahead by an 11-7 tally with 16:02 to play in the first half.
Logan's jumper sparked a 16-0 Bridgewater run over the next three-and-a-half minutes to put the Eagles ahead comfortably by a 25-7 margin. Half of the Eagles' 16 points came via Spartan miscues during the spurt.
Manchester broke the run with a jumper at the 10:33 mark, but the Eagles were quick to respond, pushing the lead up to 20 at a 29-9 margin just past the midway point of the opening frame.
The two teams traded leads for the remainder of the half, before a sloppy final three minutes from the Eagles allowed Manchester to cut the lead to 39-23 at the intermission.
At the onset of the second half, the Spartans chipped the Bridgewater lead to 10 at a 41-31 tally with just under 17 minutes to play.
Bridgewater built its lead back to 18 after a nearly six minute scoreless streak from the Spartans allowed the Eagles to tally eight unanswered points. The lead teetered around 18 points until back-to-back treys from the Spartans brought the lead back to 12 with 6:42 remaining.
Manchester used a 7-0 run to cut the lead to single digits with three minutes and change to play, but Mullen immediately responded with a jumper of her own to put the Eagles ahead by a 64-53 tally.
Over the final two-plus minutes, the Eagles outpaced Manchester to earn a 73-56 victory.
Mullen was exceptional, turning in a career-high 23 points on 10-of-21 shooting. Senior Jordan Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) was also solid, posting 15 points, while dishing out a game-high five assists in the win. Logan also chipped in for the offense with a 13-point effort.
On the glass, sophomore Katelynn Hottinger (Linville, Va./Broadway) and freshman Holly Morgan (Staunton, Va./Buffalo Gap) each pulled down a team-high 10 boards. Bridgewater out-rebounded the Spartans by a 46-38 margin.
From the field, the Eagles shot at a 42% clip (27-of-64), while Manchester turned in a 34% shooting performance.
The Eagles forced 28 Spartan miscues in the win.
Manchester was led offensively by a 13-point effort from Melissa Eltzroth. On the glass, Becki Lowden pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds in a losing effort.
Bridgewater is idle for 16 days before heading on the road on January 4 to take on perennial ODAC power Roanoke. Tip-time from the Bast Center is slated for 7:00 p.m.