VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Wesleyan overtook Bridgewater College late in the second half Wednesday night and the Marlins held on down the stretch to take a 58-55 victory in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) women's basketball action.
Bridgewater (11-10, 6-7 ODAC in the ODAC) controlled play early, scoring the first 16 points of the game as the Marlins missed their first 14 shots.
Oshene Kelly hit two short jumpers and Cassidy Burkholder added a layup for a quick 6-0 Eagles lead. Burkholder hit from the perimeter and Kelly added two more buckets, making the score 12-0. Jessi Strom and Jessica Lam then hit back-to-back jumpers for a 16-0 lead with 13:14 left in the first half.
Symonne Newsome finally put the Marlins on the board with a jumper at the 12:06 mark. Brittany Glasco converted a three-point play to make the score 16-5 but Kelly worked the paint for a short jumper and an 18-5 Bridgewater lead.
The Eagles still led by double figures, 22-11, on a bucket by Lam with 7:10 left, but the Marlins reeled off a 6-1 spurt to pull to within six, 23-17.
Virginia Wesleyan (14-8, 8-5 in the ODAC) whittled the margin down to four, 27-23, with 3:13 left, but Heather Cantrell scored the final four points of the half to send the Eagles to the locker room with a 31-23 lead.
Bridgewater maintained the upper hand for much of the second half and when Burkholder drained a jumper, the Eagles led 48-40 with eight minutes remaining.
The Marlins then reeled off 13 consecutive points to take the lead for the first time. A layup by Newsome tied the score at 48-48 and a three-point play by Newsome gave the Marlins a 51-48 lead. Andrea Paphites capped the run with two foul shots for a five-point Marlins lead with 3:35 left.
Cantrell hit a pair of foul shots and Strom followed with 1-of-2 at the line to pull the Eagles to within two, 53-51 with 2:12 on the clock.
Kerri Taylor then knocked down a huge 3-pointer to give the Marlins a 56-51 edge with 1:46 to go.
A layup by Glasco pushed the margin to seven, but a jumper by Burkholder cut the margin to five, 58-53, with 52 seconds left. Burkholder was fouled on the jumper but missed the ensuing free throw. Burkholder, however, chased down the rebound and hit another jumper to cut the deficit to three points with 48 seconds left.
After working the shot clock, Taylor missed a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left, but the Marlins controlled the offensive rebound. Bridgewater got one more chance to tie when the Marlins turned the ball over with 22 seconds to go.
The Eagles got the ball to Burkholder, but her 3-pointer in the waning seconds was off target and the Marlins gathered in the rebound to escape with the 58-55 victory.
Kelly hit 8-of-12 shots and led the Eagles with 16 points. Burkholder scored 15 points and Lam added 10. Cantrell just missed a double-double as she scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Glasco scored 16 points for the Marlins and Newsome added 10.
Bridgewater shot 48 percent from the floor, making 24-of-50 shots. Virginia Wesleyan overcame an ice-cold shooting effort in the first half to shoot 44.4 percent in the final 20 minutes. Rebounding was dead even, but there was a big difference in the turnover totals. Bridgewater turned the ball over 22 times while the Marlins committed just nine turnovers.
Bridgewater returns to action Saturday afternoon when the Eagles host Washington and Lee. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m.