Second half run helps Messiah to stop Virginia Wesleyan
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Messiah College's Falcons used an 11-0 scoring run to create some distance from Virginia Wesleyan College's Marlins on Monday midway through the second half.
Virginia Wesleyan, which sparked a 17-0 scoring run the day before in a win over Manhattanville College, could not find the same kind of spurt against Messiah however, as the Marlins dropped a 68-49 non-conference decision in the Cruzin Classic. The loss snapped a five-game VWC winning streak.
Playing in the Don Taft University Center on the campus of Nova Southeastern University, the Messiah Falcons rode that 11-0 spurt to a lead that ended what had been a close battle from the start. There were four lead changes and five ties in the first half, with the fifth tie a 29-all halftime score after VWC rookie Brittany Glasco (Fredericksburg, Va./Massaponax) scored on a jumper with 37 seconds on the clock.
Virginia Wesleyan (7-2) scored the first basket of the second half on a jumper by senior Jocelyn Spencer (Newport News, Va./Hampton Roads Academy) to take a 31-29 lead, before Messiah's Kira Maier (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) and Taylor Miller (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) scored back-to-back buckets to push the Falcons in front 34-31.
Scores from Spencer and Glasco helped keep the Marlins within a 38-34 range with 15:05 on the clock, before the tide turned in favor of Messiah the rest of the way.
A pair of freebies by Jordan Seiz (Pipersville, Pa./Central Bucks East) started the decisive 11-0 run, which included six points from 5-foot-10 Katlyn Vanderhoff (Lititz, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite), a transfer from Division I University of Maine, where she started in 41 of 51 games. She was playing her second game for Messiah, and emerged as a key contributor in the win, scoring 10 of her game-high 17 points in the second half.
A timely three-pointer from rookie Sarah Seipp (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) pulled VWC within a 51-39 score with 9:34 remaining to be played, but the Marlins could not get any closer as Vanderhoff and 6-foot-2 Dori Gyori (Biatorbagy, Hungary/Mechanicsburg, Pa.) took control for Messiah to keep the Falcons moving forward.
Seipp led Virginia Wesleyan with 13 points, while Spencer and Glasco added 10 points each. Glasco led VWC on the boards with five rebounds. Virginia Wesleyan played its third straight game without 6-1 senior Kristen Blalock (Suffolk, Va./Portsmouth Christian), the team's leading scorer and rebounder, who is nursing a leg injury.
Vanderhoff led all scoring with 17 points, followed by Gyori with 13, Maier with 12, and Chelsea Danel (Stoystown, Pa./North Star) with 10. Vanderhoff hit 6-of-12 field goals and Gyori connected on 5-of-8. She also pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Falcons, who out-rebounded VWC 43-33.
Virginia Wesleyan returns to competition on Tuesday, Jan. 3, in Old Dominion Athletic Conference action. The Marlins will host the Generals of Washington & Lee University at 7 p.m. in the Jane P. Batten Student Center.