By Mike DeVader, Reinhardt Director of Athletic Communications & Media
BLUEFIELD, Va. – A hard-fought week on the road came to a close Saturday afternoon for women's basketball, as the 23r-d -ranked Eagles prevailed again against the Rams of Bluefield (Va.), 61-58, after Reinhardt avoided the upset in the final seconds.
The hometown squad (14-2, 11-2 Appalachian Athletic Conference) completed the season sweep against the Rams, but it hasn't been easy, as the Eagles are 2-0 against Bluefield by a combined four points (65-64 win at home on Nov. 9, 2019.
"I have to say thank you to our coaches and players," lead Eagle Toby Wagoner said. "Kim and I are expecting our first child at any time, so I stayed home this weekend. I can't tell you how proud and impressed I was with Coach E today. I thought she demonstrated a tremendous amount of poise and did a wonderful job leading the team… So happy, proud and thankful for Ellie. I really thought the team had great focus and 'all-in' approach to the game today. Coach E said that it was amazing how everyone (coaches and players) came together and worked for one another. In a game like this, every possession is golden, and there wasn't a bigger possession than Bethany's 3-pointer – and at the other end –Brittany comes up with another charge. Really proud of these ladies and can't wait to see them on Monday.
"I thought we did a nice job of sharing the ball and had some really good defensive stops down the stretch," assistant coach Ellie Fruit said. "We had trouble finishing at the rim, and couldn't seem to finish at the foul line, but we were getting there and being aggressive to the rim. I was really happy to see us take better care of the ball; keeping our turnovers down was huge tonight for us. Ultimately, we stayed together and remained positive when Bluefield hit some shots down the stretch. Bethany's trey was really huge for us and Brittany getting that charge was big time with remaining seconds on the clock. I kept reminding them to stay patient on offense and get the ball on both sides of the floor to shift the defense. In the second half, I thought we did a better job at staying patient."
A second-chance 3-pointer from Bethany Headrick with 13 ticks remaining proved-to-be the difference after the Rams took the lead on a free throw with 49 seconds left in regulation. The hosts, however, kept the door open for their visitors after missing the next shot from the line – allowing the Eagles to draw up a potential game-winning play.
Amberlee Zeller missed a field goal attempt – but Catherine Shope snagged the rebound and found Headrick – who nailed the shot from deep to make it 60-58. The game was put on ice after Bluefield was charged with an offensive foul with six seconds left while trying to tie or take the lead.
Shope, who led all scorers with 17 points, made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe as the Eagles got the offensive board and went on to victory.
Headrick wasn't far behind with 16 tallies and six rebounds, while Ashton Sutton netted 12 of her own off the bench in the triumph.
The Eagles were able to earn the come-from-behind win despite shooting just 38.9 percent from the field (21-of-54) and missing 11 free throws (14-for-25).
Defensively, Reinhardt forced 16 turnovers.
The team comes back home for a couple days before heading back on the road next Wednesday to visit Tennessee Wesleyan at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 15.
For more information on Reinhardt Women's Basketball, please click here.