STAUNTON, VA. – Behind all five starters scoring in double figures, the Mary Baldwin University women's basketball team opened its home slate with an 86-64 win against Eastern Mennonite in the Physical Activity Center on Wednesday night.
With the win, the Fighting Squirrels move to 2-0 on the season and push the Royals to 0-2 to start the year.
Reigning USA South Rookie of the Week Jalen Gathers led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the floor, including 4-of-6 from long range with one coming just before the buzzer to end the third quarter. She also added three rebounds and an assist.
Demet Saygili registered 12 points and pulled down nine boards, totaled four assists and tallied three steals. Brooke Anders dropped four three-pointers to finished with 12 points and tallied six total rebounds, while Leah Calhoun scored 11 points and finished with a game-high 13 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.
Rounding out the starting five, Codie Heilig finished with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and tallied three rebounds and a block.
For the Royals, Chloe Roach finished with a team-best 15 points to go with eight rebounds, while Chrissy Delawder notched 12 points and seven boards. Hailey Page recorded five rebounds and three blocks to go with nine points.
Heilig scored the first points of the contest before EMU pushed to a 4-2 lead. A three from Saygili put the Fighting Squirrels back in front with 7:29 left in the first quarter. The two sides alternated baskets until a three from Gathers with 4:34 left in the period spawned a 19-5 run to close out the quarter with 12 of the 19 points coming from Gathers.
The Fighting Squirrels started the second quarter with a 25-17 lead and a three from Anders pushed the lead to 13 nearly two and a half minutes into the period. Back-to-back baskets from Gathers gave MBU a 33-17 lead. A pair of free throws from Bryonna Woofter gave the home side a nearly 20-point advantage but a jumper from Lexi Deffenbaugh gave the Royals their first points of the quarter. MBU led by as many as 17 in the remainder of the period as EMU scored the seven of the last 10 points in the period and cut the lead to 10, 42-32, at the break.
EMU cut the lead down to six early in the second half before consecutive treys from Anders and a jumper from Woofter gave MBU a 14-point advantage at 50-36 with 7:05 left in the third. Later in the period, a layup from Calhoun off a Fastbreak stretched the lead to 17 at 60-43 halfway through the period and a late run gave the Fighting Squirrels a 23-point lead at the end of the third after a block by Calhoun led to a three from Gathers that just barely beat the buzzer.
Both sides alternated scores for a majority of the fourth as the Fighting Squirrels earned an 86-64 victory.
In addition, Woofter finished with four points, two rebounds, two steals and two assists in 20 minutes off the bench, while 10 total players scored in the victory.
As a team, the Fighting Squirrels connected on 42.1% (32-76) from the floor compared to 36.2% (21-58) from the Royals. MBU totaled 13 three-pointers in the win from six different players and finished at 46.4% (13-28) from long range.
The Fighting Squirrels return to action this weekend at the Guilford College Classic. MBU takes on St. Mary's (Md.) on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 2 pm before finishing the week against the host, Quakers, at 2 on Sunday.