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Lynchburg Holds Off Eagles, 78-70

Lynchburg Holds Off Eagles, 78-70

BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Lynchburg College opened  up a 14-point lead by outscoring Bridgewater College 20-9 to start the second half and the Hornets held on down the stretch to defeat the Eagles, 78-70, in Old Dominion Athletic Conference women's basketball action Saturday afternoon.

Bridgewater (6-6, 1-3 ODAC) trailed 8-5 early but the Eagles hit the Hornets with an 11-3 run to take an eight-point lead.

Two buckets by Heather Cantrell gave the Eagles the lead and a 3-pointer by Jessi Strom made the score 12-8. Oshene Kelly scored from down low and Cantrell added a 15-footer, giving Bridgewater a 16-8 lead with 13:38 left in the first half.

Lynchburg (7-5, 3-1 ODAC) chipped away at the deficit and a layup by Caroline Naumann tied the score at 25-25 with 6:51 left in the half.

An 8-2 run pushed the Hornets to a 37-30 lead with 2:24 remaining in the half. Two foul shots by Cantrell and two more by Jessica Lam pulled the Eagles to within three, 37-34. Cassidy Burkholder made 1-of- 2 from the line to make it a two-point game before Charmaine Hairston's layup sent the Hornets to the locker room with a 38-34 halftime lead.

Lynchburg controlled the action early in the second half and a 3-pointer by Olivia DeFrancesco put the visitors on top, 59-45, with 13 minutes left to play. Another 3-ball, this one by Shannon Allan gave the Hornets their biggest lead, 65-50 with 10:27 left.

Bridgewater began its long climb back and buckets by Burkholder and Strom cut the margin back to single digits, 67-58 with 7:21 to play.

Lynchburg's Sarah Coronel and Strom traded hoops before a jumper by Jessalyn Monday pulled the Eagles to within seven, 69-62, with 4:44 remaining.

After the Hornets turned the ball over, Monday went to the foul line and made two straight, cutting the margin to five, 69-64. Lauren Penley made 1-of-2 foul shots for Lynchburg and then Cantrell worked the paint for a bucket to pull Bridgewater to within four, 70-66 with 3:57 still to play.

Allan knocked down a baseline jumper for the Hornets, but Lam countered with two free throws to keep the margin at four. Penley hit a big jumper for Lynchburg, but once again the Eagles answered, this time on a Cantrell layup, making the score 74-70 with two minutes left.

Penley scored from inside and this time the Eagles were unable to respond. Bridgewater turned the ball over twice and two free throws by Lynchburg's Sammi Goldsmith with 25 seconds remaining accounted for the final points in the Hornets' hard-fought 78-70 victory.

Cantrell scored a season-high 23 points and added a team-best eight rebounds to lead the Eagles. Kelly scored 13 points while Burkholder added 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Strom finished the contest with 10 points.

Hairston paced the Hornets with 16 points, followed by Allan with 15 and Penley with 14. The Hornets held a slim 35-33 edge on the boards with Naumann leading the team with nine rebounds.

Lynchburg shot a sizzling 52.5 percent from the floor, making 32-of-61 shots. The Eagles also shot the ball well, hitting 25-of-53 attempts for 47.2 percent.

Bridgewater returns to action Tuesday evening when the Eagles make the trip to Winchester to play Shenandoah in ODAC action. Game time is 7:00 p.m.