Balanced scoring guides Virginia Wesleyan to tourney win over Lynchburg
SALEM, Va. -- Virginia Wesleyan College's No. 1 seeded women's basketball team jumped out to a 6-0 lead over No. 9 Lynchburg College Thursday at the Salem Civic Center and never looked back en route to a 78-61 first round victory in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship tournament.
The Marlins (21-5) advance to the semifinal round on Saturday, Feb. 26, taking on Washington & Lee University's Generals (14-12) who knocked off Randolph-Macon College 78-69.
Virginia Wesleyan never trailed in the game, using a balanced scoring attack to open up a 27-17 lead with 6:08 remaining in the half on a score by ODAC Rookie of the Year Sarah Seipp (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaitherburg) off an assist from sophomore Symonne Newsome (Reistertown, Md./St. Paul's School for Girls).
Lynchburg (9-17) came back behind Caitlin Falls (Montea, Va./Staunton River) and Shea Kelley (Norristown, Pa./Kennedy-Kendrick) to cut the spread to 27-22, but could not get closer. Virginia Wesleyan responded with timely free throws from senior Shawnee Lewis (Alexandria, Va./Thomas A. Edison) and Newsome, before rookie Kerri-Leanne Taylor (Stockport, England/The Hill School (Pa.) ripped through a key triple to give the Marlins their largest lead of the half at 34-22.
Virginia Wesleyan led 36-28 at halftime and out-scored Lynchburg 12- 4 early in the second half to open up a 48-32 lead in the first five minutes of play. Senior Beth Ann Boyce (Colonial Heights, Va./Colonial Heights) hit a big triple for the Marlins in the run.
Virginia Wesleyan maintained a 12-14 lead thereafter, before expanding the gap its largest spread at 72-51 with 4:17 remaining in the game following a layup by Newsome.
Twelve Marlins played in the game and 11 scored, led by Seipp with 15 points. Senior Kristen Blalock (Suffolk, Va./Portsmouth Christian) added 13 points, seven rebounds, three blocks, and three steals. Lewis finished with nine points, five assists and four steals, and rookie Nancy Kelly (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) led VWC rebounding with eight.
Falls led Lynchburg with 22 points, hitting 12-of-15 free throws. Kelley added 21 points, knocking down 6-of-10 triples. Falls also pulled down 11 rebounds of the Hornets.