A late Roanoke rally fueled by Paxton Gwin falls just short in the opening round of the ODAC Tournament, as the Maroons fall to Eastern Mennonite, 63-55 on Thursday night.
The Maroons finish the season with a record of 8-17, 8-12 in ODAC regular season play, while the Royals extend their record to 22-3 and move on to play in the semi-final round of the ODAC Tournament. They will face off against the winner of the #3 Guilford/#6 Bridgewater match-up.
The Maroons were 0-2 this season against the Royals entering this contest, including a one-point loss at home on February 4th, 45-44.
Roanoke jumped out to an early 4-0 lead as All-ODAC Third Team member Paxton Gwin hit two consecutive layups to start the game. Eastern Mennonite's Alisa Brown knocked down a three in response to make it a one-point game early. Kala Yoders would hit a layup to take the first lead of the game for the Royals.
At the 15:21 mark, Rachel Dellahunt hit two free-throws reclaim the lead at 10-8. However, the Royals tied the game and subsequently took the lead. Roanoke took the lead one more time in the first half when Taylor Duggins dropped in a layup for a 20-18 lead.
With 7:02 to play in the first half, Brown hit a layup to take an EMU lead at 25-24. Eastern Mennonite stayed in the lead for the remainder of the period, extending it to as many as 12, which would ultimately be halftime score of 39-27.
Through the first twenty minutes, Tatum McKee led the Maroons with seven points and eight rebounds. Samantha Garst followed with six points to her credit. EMU's Samantha Ygarza went 9-for-9 in the first half, netting 18 points to lead all players.
EMU also outshot Roanoke from the field in the first stanza, hitting 52.9% to the Maroons 33.3%. The Royals also held Roanoke scoreless from behind the arc in that time.
In the second half, Eastern Mennonite held their same lead for the first ten minutes of the period. With 9:13 to play, Shakeerah Sykes nocked down a three-pointer to give the Royals a 16-point lead, 55-39. Just a minute later, Tatum McKee responded with a trey of her own to cut the deficit to 13. Then, at the 5:36 mark, Gwin drilled a three-pointer. Gwen struck again just moments later with a give-and-go from Rachel Dellahunt to bring the Maroons within eight, 57-49.
Gwin continued her run for Roanoke, dropping in a layup to close the gap to six points, 57-51 with 4:30 to play. Out of a time out, Eastern Mennonite went back on the attack, putting up baskets from Yoders and Ygarza to stretch the lead out to 10 with 1:31 to play. The Royals held on to their lead for the remainder of the game, defeating Roanoke 63-55.
Paxton Gwin led the Maroons with 18 points to go with her nine rebounds. Just behind Gwin was Tatum McKee who completed a double double in her final contest of the season with 16 points and 10 boards.
Ygarza finished the contest with a game-high 22 points and seven rebounds. Also in double digits for the Royals were Yoders with 15 and Alisa Brown with 10. Keyla Baltimore led the team with nine rebounds, while Ygarza and Stephanie Rheinheimer pulled down seven each.
EMU finished ahead of the Maroons shooting 46% to 35% from the field, while Roanoke outshot the Royals 58% to 54% from the charity stripe. EMU also narrowly outrebounded Roanoke 40-38, and the Maroons picked up seven steals to the Royals three.