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Eagles Turn Back Yellow Jackets For Key ODAC Win

Mary Ruth Shifflett shoots for the Eagles.

BRIDGEWATER, Va. - Bridgewater College forced 21 turnovers and held Randolph-Macon to 33.8 percent shooting from the floor Wednesday evening to hold off the Yellow Jackets for a key 69-61 ODAC victory.

First-year guard Mary Ruth Shifflett scored a career-high 17 points to lead the Eagles offense. Claire Mocarski, Ahlia Moone and Nina Novosel each finished the game with 14 points. The output was a career-high for Novosel.

Bridgewater controlled play in the opening quarter and jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead on two buckets and two free throws by Mocarski. After a bucket by Macon's Michal Ross, Moone and Shifflett added layups for the Eagles, making the score 10-3. Novosel came off the bench and knocked down a 3-pointer to push the Eagles' lead to 10 points before an inside basket from Charlotte Woods pulled the visitors to within 13-5 with 3:53 left in the first quarter.

Mocarski added a short jumper and Kayla Darr scored on a layup, giving Bridgewater its biggest lead of the quarter, 17-5, with 1:34 remaining. Ross worked the paint for a pair of buckets, but Shifflett drained a 3-pointer with seven seconds on the clock, giving the Eagles a 20-9 edge after one quarter.

A jumper by first-year guard Jasmyn Pierce gave Bridgewater a 27-15 lead with 6:24 left in the second quarter, matching the Eagles largest lead of the first half. The Yellow Jackets scored six unanswered points before a 3-pointer by Shifflett pushed the Eagles' lead back to nine, 30-21, with 1:32 left in the half. Woods then scored inside for the Yellow Jackets as the first half ended with the Eagles holding a 30-23 advantage.

Randolph-Macon trimmed the margin to three points several times early in the second half and trailed 38-35 with 4:46 left in the third quarter. Shifflett and Moone combined to go 4-for-4 at the foul line and Shifflett scored inside off an assist from Moone to push the margin back up to nine, 44-35, with 2:55 showing on the clock.

Two free throws by Macon's Kelly Williams trimmed the deficit to seven, but Novosel drained a 3-pointer from the left cormer, giving the Eagles a double-digit lead, 47-37. The Eagles led by seven when Shifflett scored on a layup in the closing seconds for a 49-40 lead entering the final quarter.

The Yellow Jackets kept the pressure on the Eagles in the fourth quarter and trailed by just four, 58-54, with 4:08 left in the game. Moone then knocked down a clutch 3-ball from the left wing, keeping the Eagles out front, 61-54, with 3:38 left.

A layup by Ross once again pulled the visitors to within four, 62-58, with less than two minutes to go and a turnover gave Macon a chance to pull closer. Ross missed a jumper and Shifflett grabbed the rebound as the Eagles protected the four-point lead. Then, with the shot clock approaching zero on the next possession, Mocarski hit a turnaround jumper along the right baseline, making the score 64-58 with 50.3 seconds remaining. Moone hit two foul shots and Shifflett made 3-of-4 in the final minute as the Eagles finished off the 69-61 victory.

The Eagles won the rebound battle against the taller Yellow Jackets by a 48-44 margin. Mocarski led the Eagles with eight rebounds. Bridgewater point guard Madison Baum turned in a stellar floor game, dishing out 10 assists and turning the ball over just once in 28 minutes.

Woods and Williams led the Yellow Jackets with double-doubles. Woods scored 16 points and grabbed 16 rebounds while Williams scored 16 points to go along with 10 boards. Ross paced the visitors in scoring with 19 points. 

The Eagles improved to 5-8 overall and 4-2 in the ODAC. Bridgewater returns to Nininger Hall on Saturday afternoon to host Ferrum College.