Marlins Capture 68-65 Road Victory in ODAC First Round

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Marlins Capture 68-65 Road Victory in ODAC First Round

SALEM, Va. -- The No. 9-seeded Virginia Wesleyan College women's basketball team rallied in the fourth quarter for a 68-65 victory over No. 8 Roanoke College in the first round of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) tournament Monday night.

The Marlins trailed 49-45 heading into the fourth period, but the Virginia Wesleyan defense stepped up as Kelly Jones and Kellen Phillipspicked up steals on back-to-back possessions. The Jones steal led to a Jayla Harris three, cutting the deficit to 49-48.

Roanoke went on a mini 4-0 run to pull back ahead 53-48 when the Marlins 7:13 to play when the Marlins responded. Virginia Wesleyan went on a 9-0 run over the next two minutes to take a 57-53 lead, one that the Marlins would not surrender. The Marlins did their damage from three-point range as Jones started the run with a three off a Jaelyn Washington assist. Jones found Harris on the Marlins next possession for the 54-53 lead, before Jones capped off the run with a trifecta on a Phillips assist.

Roanoke cut the lead to one three different times down the stretch, but the Marlins knocked down crucial free throws to ice the game.

The Maroons trailed 65-59 after Crystal Strother knocked down a pair of free throws. An ensuing three-pointer by Kelsey Smith cut the lead to three points, 65-62, forcing the Maroons to foul Harris with 14 seconds left. Harris made one of two at the charity stripe to extend the game back to two possessions. Smith hit another three to cut the lead to one point with just nine seconds remaining. Roanoke fouled Naeemah Morris, who hit both free throws. A last second attempt by Roanoke fell short as the Marlins captured the road win.

Smith and Bridget Holleran had 17 points each for Roanoke (13-13) as Cary Beahm finished with 10 points and nine boards.

Harris led the way with 23 points, five rebounds, and four assists for the Marlins while Jones contributed 19 points and nine rebounds to go with 12 points from Strother.

No. 9 Virginia Wesleyan (9-16) will face No. 1 Lynchburg College (21-4) in the ODAC Quarterfinals Thursday at 1 p.m.