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Eagles Push EMU To The Limit In Quarterfinal Loss

Eagles Push EMU To The Limit In Quarterfinal Loss

– Bridgewater College pushed No. 25 Eastern Mennonite to the limit Friday afternoon before falling 77-66 in the quarterfinals of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference women's basketball tournament at the Salem Civic Center.

The top-seeded Royals threatened to put some distance on the Eagles in the opening half when back-to-back 3-pointers by Jess Rheinheimer and Marla zumFelde gave EMU a 31-19 lead with 5:35 on the clock.

A 3-pointer by Bridgewater's Jessi Strom sliced the margin to nine before BC's Jessalyn Monday and EMU's Alisa Brown traded buckets to keep the Royals lead at nine, 35-26 with 2:41 left.

Shakeerah Sykes hit 1-of-2 at the foul line to push the margin to 10 points before the Eagles closed the half with a 6-0 spurt. Oshene Kelly, Monday and Cassidy Burkholder scored buckets to pull Bridgewater to within 36-32 at the half.

Heather Cantrell and Rheinheimer traded hoops to open the second half before consecutive 3-pointers by Strom and Burkholder pushed the Eagles into the lead, 40-38.

A layup by Sykes tied the score, but Monday countered with an inside move for a 42-40 Eagles lead

Cantrell then caught fire in the high post to keep the Eagles on even terms.

Ailsa Brown hit a 3-pointer to push EMU back on top by a point, but Cantrell scored from the high post for a 44-43 BC lead. Brown drove the lane for two, but Cantrell answered with a 12-footer for a 46-45 edge. Rheinheimer went to the line and hit two free throws but Cantrell answered one more time with another 15-footer as the Eagles managed to stay ahead by a point, 48-47 Rheinheimer worked inside for a layup but Cantrell once again knocked down a 15-footer, giving the Eagles a 50-49 lead .

Sykes and Rheinheimer scored consecutive buckets for a three-point lead before Strom hit from beyond the arc to tie the score at 53-53 with 12:27 remaining.

After Burkholder scored on a driving layup to pull the Eagles within one, 58-57, the Royals delivered a decisive 11-0 spurt to take a 12-point, 69-57, lead with 4:48 left in the game.

The Eagles placed four players in double figures, led by sophomore Cantrell's 17 points. Burkholder scored 14 points while Kelly and Monday each scored 10.

Rheinheimer, the ODAC Player of the Year, paced the Royals with 29 points.  Sykes, EMU's other first-team All-ODAC performer added 15 and Alisa Brown scored 13.

Bridgewater, a team with no seniors on the roster, finished the season with a 13-13 record.