Women’s basketball defeats Roanoke in post-season ODACs

Bridgewater’s first-half performance propels them to the semifinals


Bridgewater Eagles Athletics

Once the referees make a call, sophomore Abby Branner waits for the ball to enter play. With 26 games played and the fourth-most minutes played on the team, she was essential to the team’s success this season.

Gianni Maltese, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va.- With a decisive victory over the Maroons, Bridgewater women’s basketball celebrates the start of the postseason.

In the quarterfinals of the ODAC Women’s Basketball Championships on Thursday night in the Salem Civic Center, the No. 3 seed Bridgewater College women’s basketball team defeated the No. 6 seed Roanoke 71-60.

As their overall record improves to 20-5 for the year, the Eagles’ amazing debut season under  head coach Stephanie Flamini continues into the semifinals.

First-year Riley Corcoran finished the contest with a game-high 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field, adding five rebounds, an assist and a steal.

Three Eagles tied for the game’s most rebounds with seven each: graduate student Erika Nettles, junior Jaden Alsbury and sophomore Abby Branner, who were all dominant on the glass.

The Eagles did not take many shots, but when they did, the combined field goal percentage for the team was 38.8%, and kept the Maroons to a field goal conversion rate of 32.8%.

The Eagles received overwhelming support from fans who traveled from all over to watch the match between the two ODAC greats.

“I thought the atmosphere at the game was great. We had a lot of fans there to support us,” said Alsberry. “When we have people cheering us on it always helps us. It was a huge win because we knew they were a good team that we had lost to before.”

As a sub, Erika Nettles scored 13 points on 11 of 12 free-throw attempts and added seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

The Eagles’ bench was essential in this game, as they entered and performed their share. The Eagles bench players went above and beyond their call of duty, contributing a third of the team’s total points with 25 for the day compared to the Maroons’ nine.

Branner made a pair of free throws for Bridgewater to build an early lead of 10-3, but the Maroons closed the gap to 10-5. The Eagles led 15-7 after the first 10 minutes, but the two teams traded baskets in the closing seconds of the first quarter.

As the Eagles became the first team to reach 25, Branner drained a three, which was part of a 20-7 surge for BC during the final seven minutes of the half. The Eagles went into the locker room with a commanding 37-18 lead.

The third quarter was less flattering for the Eagles as the Maroons outscored them 21-12. The Eagles were only able to make one field goal the entire quarter, but they went into the final period of regulation ahead 49-39.

Hardly one minute had passed when the fourth frame began, and Bridgewater went on a 7-0 run. With a few minutes left in regulation, the Maroons extended a 15-2 run over the following few minutes to cut the BC lead to 60-55. The Eagles maintained the lead throughout the entire game, despite it being close at times.

With under three minutes remaining, first-year Kayla Ford replied by ending the run and giving BC an eight-point lead once more. Bridgewater later extended their lead by making 4-4 free throw attempts, winning 71-60.

“We had great energy as a team the entire game,” said Ford. “This reflects in me; we always stick together as a team and continue to pick each other up.”

On Saturday, Feb. 25, at 3 p.m. in the Salem Civic Center, the Eagles and Hornets played to a Bridgewater defeat that put an end to their remarkable journey by a score of 75-60.