Guilford Rallies For Second Straight ODAC Women's Hoops Crown
SALEM, Va. --- Guilford College guard Brittany Atwater sunk a runner in the lane with seven-seconds to play to put the Quakers ahead 61-59, a margin which proved championship-clinching as Eastern Mennonite University's last-second attempt fell off the front rim to secure Guilford's second straight ODAC Women's Basketball Tournament crown.
The Quakers (24-4), winners of four overall pieces of ODAC women's basketball hardware, earn the conference's automatic entry into the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament for the second time in as many years. The Royals (21-6) continuation in the postseason comes down to a possible at-large bid into the field of 64 teams. The selection show for the tournament airs live at 2:30 p.m. ET on Monday, February 25, on www.ncaa.com.
Eastern Mennonite trailed by two at the half, but led by as many as six points with a little over seven minutes to play in the second half. Guilford worked its deficit down to three on a jumper by Morgan King at the 5:33 mark, but Raiven Patterson returned EMU's edge to five at 54-49 with 5:50 to go.
King again stepped up for the Quakers, converting a Kayla Adams pass into a three-point play as she used the window for two and canned the subsequent foul shout. Atwater tied the contest for the sixth time at 54-all on GC's next possession with a lay-in with 3:15 showing on the Salem Civic Center scoreboard.
EMU's Kala Yoders connected a pair from the charity stripe, but Gabby Oglesby knotted the score one more time with just short of two minutes to play. The 2012 ODAC Player of the Year gave Guilford its first lead since the 13:48 mark of the second half with two free throws, and Atwater made it 59-56 GC with the front-end of a 1-and-1.
Steph Rheinheimer broke her own personal lid on the rim on EMU's ensuing possession as the Royals' sharpshooter had been held scoreless the entire contest. She knocked down a three-pointer to lock the game at 59-all, setting the stage for Atwater's game-winner on Guilford's next and final trip down the floor.
King led all scorers with 20 points to go along with a game-high 14 rebounds, which marked her second straight and sixth overall double-double of the season. She also had two blocked shots. Atwater shook off five first-half turnovers (seven total) to finish with 13 points, three boards and a pair of assists. Oglesby, who was hampered by foul trouble for much of the contest, notched eight points and three boards.
Patterson led EMU with 12 points to go with three rebounds and three helpers. Shakeera Sykes chipped in 10 markers and a team-best eight boards, leading a Royals' bench that out-scored Guilford 24-8.
Play in the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament begins with first round action on Friday, March 1, at sites to be determined. For more information, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.
- J.J. Nekoloff, ODAC Office