FREDERICKSBURG, Va.—The red hot Southern Virginia University women's basketball team traveled to Fredericksburg for a conference matchup against the University of Mary Washington on Wednesday evening beating the Eagles 66-58.
The Knights (16-1, 7-0 CAC) rode a 14-game win streak and an undisputed first place CAC ranking into the game. Both teams battled down the stretch, but in several key moments, the Knights had multiple players step up and make big plays ultimately leading them to the 66-58 overtime victory.
"One of our greatest strengths as a team is that we know anyone can step in at any given time and make a big contribution," stated Southern Virginia Head Coach Adam Wardenburg. "Our ability to execute our plays at the end of the game was great too."
Southern Virginia started quickly in the first, outscoring the Eagles (9-9, 3-4 CAC) 33-26 heading into the half. Alexus Barnes and Bryndie Ballam each provided major contributions to the first half lead as they scored nine and seven points respectively. Southern Virginia also managed to outshoot Mary Washington 44 percent to 35 percent from the field through the first two quarters.
The Knights cooled off in the second half, shooting only 30% from the field. The shooting slump allowed the Eagles to slowly chip away at the Southern Virginia lead. It wasn't until the 6:05 mark in the fourth quarter, however, that a made jump shot by Mary Washington tied up the game at 50 apiece.
The last six minutes of the period proved to be a grueling defensive battle as both squads struggled for any bucket that could potentially give them the upper hand. At the: 08 mark, with the game tied at 55 all, Mary Washington's Emily Thompson missed a go-ahead three-point opportunity.
Southern Virginia had one final chance to win it in regulation. The Knights passed the ball into Katie Garrish on the block who had a good look at the basket. She took the shot but wasn't able to connect, sending the game to overtime.
Southern Virginia, determined not to let their win streak die, came out fired up in the bonus period. Some tough play and a gritty attitude gave the Knights the upper hand as they outscored the Eagles 11-3 in the period, giving them their 15th straight win 66-58.
"Defensively, we did what we needed to do to win the game" added Wardenburg. "We gave up too many offensive rebounds, but we got stops when we needed them and did a great job in the 4th quarter and overtime of forcing them to do things they didn't want to do."
The Knights head home to continue their conference play against Penn State University Harrisburg. The game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Jan. 26 in the Knight Arena.