BRIDGEWATER, Va. – The postseason is all about surviving and advancing. The Bridgewater College Eagles managed to do just that Monday evening at Nininger Hall.
The Eagles survived a last-second shot for the win by Randolph College at the end of regulation and then controlled play in the overtime session to advance with an 88-76 victory over the WildCats in the first round of the ODAC tournament.
Bridgewater (14-11) took a 10-4 lead with a 6-0 spurt early in the opening period and led for the remainder of the first half. Randolph stayed close and trailed by just five 20-15, when Korin Harris worked inside for a layup at the 1:23 mark of the opening period.
The Eagles closed the quarter with another 6-0 spurt to push the margin to double figures. Briana Moore and Cassidy Burkholder scored from in close and Moore added a pair of free throws as the first period ended with the Eagles holding a 26-15 lead.
Bridgewater pushed the margin to 15 points, 30-15, when Moore and Jessalyn Monday knocked down short jumpers to start the second period.
The lead was still double digits when Oshene Kelly worked the paint for a layup, making the score 41-31 with 1:11 left in the half.
Randolph (4-22) took all the momentum into intermission as a 7-0 spurt in the final minute trimmed the deficit to three. Daijah Johnson's 10-footer just before the buzzer pulled the WildCats to within 41-38.
The 11th-seeded WildCats pulled even early in the third period when Rebecca Harvey stepped behind the line and her 3-pointer knotted the score at 43-43.
Two foul shots by Jacqueline Hockman gave the visitors their first lead of the night, but a three-point play by Sydni Carey put the Eagles back on top 46-45.
Two foul shots by Burkholder gave the Eagles a 3-point lead before a long 3-pointer by Randolph's Abigail Bullins tied things up at 49 apiece with 2:43 left in the third period.
Bridgewater's Kaitlyn Lehan and the WildCats' Hope Randolph traded hoops before a Lehan free throw put the Eagles on top 52-51.
Randolph regained the lead on a layup by Harvey but Moore swished a running 40-footer at the buzzer, sending the Eagles to the fourth period with a 55-53 lead.
A layup by Lehan to start the final period pushed the Eagles lead to four, but two buckets by Hockman pulled the WildCats even at 57-57.
After Moore and Randolph's Brie Holdren traded hoops, a free throw by Burkholder and a 15-footer by Sydni Carey put the Eagles up by three, 62-59. A jumper by Hockman with 1:25 remaining made it a one-point game and a short jumper by Bullins moved Randolph into the lead, 63-62, with 25 seconds remaining.
The Eagles put the ball in Burkholder's hands and she was fouled on her way to the hole with 12 ticks on the clock. She hit the first foul shot to tie the score, but the second free throw rattled out and Hockman chased down the rebound. The Cats pushed the ball into the offensive zone, but Hockman's off-balance 12-footer with three seconds left was long and the teams headed to overtime.
Kelly worked inside to score the first points of overtime, but Taylor Samuels answered for the WildCats, tying the score at 65-65. On the next possession, Moore found Jessica Lam open in the left corner and the BC junior knocked down the 3-pointer to give the Eagles a 68-65 lead. Lam, Bridgewater's leading scorer on the season, struggled from the field during regulation and was just 1-for-7 when she drilled the 3-pointer to put the Eagles ahead to stay.
The Eagles methodically expanded the lead behind the play of freshman guard Moore who scored 12 points in the overtime session. Bridgewater hit 14-of-15 free throws down the stretch with Moore making eight straight as the Eagles pulled away for the 88-76 victory.
Monday's overtime contest was the fourth of the season for the Eagles and their second in a row. The Eagles are now 3-1 in overtime games.
In her first postseason game for the Eagles, Moore poured in a season-high 27 points and pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds. She also dished out a team-high five assists. Burkholder just missed a double-double with 18 points and eight rebounds and Kelly posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards. Carey finished with 11 points and Lam added 10.
Harvey paced the WildCats with 24 points and Hockman finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The sixth-seeded Eagles move on to the quarterfinals Thursday evening at the Salem Civic Center where Emory & Henry, the No. 3 seed, awaits. Bridgewater won the one regular-season meeting when the Eagles slipped past the Wasps 78-75 in overtime at Nininger Hall. Thursday's contest will be the final quarterfinal contest of the day with tip-off scheduled for 8:00 p.m.