BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Following a sluggish first half on the defensive end, the Bridgewater Eagles used a press defense to turn a seven point halftime deficit into a 33-13 run to start the second half, while senior Jordan Burkholder posted a triple-double as the Eagles routed visiting Roanoke 85-68 in Nininger Hall.
Defense was optional early as the two teams traded scores to the tune of a 17-17 score with 14:29 left in the opening frame.
Roanoke tallied the game's next four points to take a 21-17 advantage before the Eagles answered with a four-point spurt of their own to knot the game at 21 each.
Again, Roanoke used a scoreless spurt, this time a 6-0 run, to gain the lead before a scrappy Bridgewater effort drew the game back to a deadlock off of a pair of three from Jenny Logan (Luray, Va./Luray) and Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby).
Over the remaining eight minutes of the half, Roanoke controlled play, building its lead to as high as six on a pair of occasions, before taking a 45-40 lead into the intermission.
Bridgewater had no answer for the Roanoke's inside game in the first half as the Maroons rolled out to a 32-to-2 advantage in the paint in the opening 20 minutes, with Nicci Moats and Jordan Gholson netting 15 and 12 points apiece.
Out of the break, Roanoke looked to push its lead to double figures by netting the first four points of the half to take a 49-40 lead with 18:22 remaining.
Following a missed layup at the other end for the Eagles, a turnover by Moats sparked an 8-0 run from Bridgewater to cut the Maroons advantage to 49-48 with 16 and change remaining.
Both teams traded scores over the next five minutes, with a pair of Logan free throws tying the game up for the ninth time at a 58-58 margin with 11:12 to play.
After a Roanoke turnover, Katelynn Hottinger (Linville, Va./Broadway) went to the stripe and drilled a pair of free throws to kick-start a 17-4 Eagles run which put Bridgewater ahead by a 75-62 tally with 6:31 to play after Hottinger finished the run with a conventional three-point play.
Roanoke wasn't quite finished as they chipped the Bridgewater lead back to single digits with 2:23 to go, but a pair of made jumpers and a 4-for-4 effort from the free throw line sealed the deal for the Eagles as Bridgewater rolled to a decisive 85-68 victory over the visiting Maroons.
Burkholder triple-double was one of the stories of the game for the Eagles as the senior netted 15 points, a career-high 12 assists and 10 rebounds in the win. Sophomore Jessica Mullen (Purcellville, Va./Loudon Valley) was exceptional as well, pouring in a game-high 27-point effort on 11-of-20 shooting. Of Mullen's 27 points, 20 came in the second half.
Logan also aided the Eagles scoring effort with 22 points, while Hottinger rounded out the quintet of double-figure scorers with 15 of her own.
With her 10 boards on the night, Burkholder now has 500 career rebounds.
The Bridgewater, Va. native was also just three steals away from the exceptionally rare quadruple-double, as she tallied seven steals in the game.
Roanoke was led offensively by an explosive 19-point effort from Moats. Gholson also chipped in 18 points for the Maroons.
Moats pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds to pick up the double-double in the loss as the Maroons outrebounded Bridgewater by a 40-to-34 tally.
Roanoke outshot the Eagles by a 50%-to-43% clip, but it was Bridgewater's 46%-to-18% advantage beyond the arc that also provided to be a major factor in the game.
Bridgewater's press defense forced 15 second half turnovers for the Maroons as the Eagles owned the turnover battle by a 26-to-15 margin. Bridgewater also outscored the Maroons by a 31-to-16 tally off turnovers.
"We decided at the half that we needed to create the tempo that we like to play at and we saw that our press defense had some success in the first half, so we went back to it and it really paid off. the energy we played with was just tremendous," said head coach Jean Willi.
The Eagles, 15-3 on the season, 9-3 in the ODAC, are back in action on Friday night when they travel to Hollins. Tip-off against Hollins is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start.