It all starts when one sets their foot in the Salem Civic Center. The pressure mounts as players walk into the ODAC banquet as squadrons of battle-tested individuals represent their team while awards are presented to individuals and teams alike. The Emory & Henry Women’s Basketball Team saw two players achieve awards as senior guard Megan Jacoby and sophomore forward Taylor Blevins earned all-league second-team accolades for the second year in a row.
Moving past the banquet, the Wasps were looking to achieve an even greater goal: winning the ODAC tournament.
The Wasp’s tournament march began with a matchup between the Hornets of Shenandoah University. The third seeded Emory & Henry team knew the strategy they needed to uphold in order to dominate the Hornets, and dominate they did. With 13 of the Wasps fifteen players contributing to the scoring column, the Wasps used their depth and cunning to dissect the Hornet defense.
Led by sophomore forward Taylor Blevins with a game-high of 15 points, E&H shot the ball exceptionally well. Senior guard Asja Jenkins was a perfect six-for-six from the floor for 13 points, while Sydney McKinney had 12 points and four boards.
With a final score of 80-38, E&H took the victory in stride aiming to inflict the same fate onto their semi-final opponent; the second seeded Quakers of Guilford College.
As the balls bounced in warmups for the women’s semifinal matchup, all Wasps locked in to the craft that they have devoted their efforts to. The road to the championship was within reach and execution would be the key.
Tipoff ensued and the Quakers immediately scored the first eight points of the game before the Wasps began to find a rhythm offensively. Towards the end of the first period, the Wasps tied things up at 17.
In the second period, the Quaker’s 3-point precision would inflict serious wounds on the Wasp defensive end leading to a 36-24 E&H deficit.
Trading baskets throughout the third period, the Quakers maintained its 12-point lead. E&H got within eight (49-41) in the first minute of the fourth but Guilford answered with a 9-3 run to push the lead back to 58-44 with 7:05 left on the clock.
The Wasps would get no closer than 10 points the rest of the way as the Quakers were able to run out the clock and punch their ticket to the ODAC title game with the 67-52 victory.
So as the Wasps entered the Salem Civic Center with high hopes, those hopes would have to direct themselves to the 2017-18 season, as the Women’s basketball program aims to continue to shift the culture and make noise with the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
– Andrew Davis