Junior guard Sam Partonen scored a career-high 15 points and junior forward Aby Diop tied a career-high with 13 points to lead the 13th/16th ranked University of Mary Washington women's basketball team to a 66-48 win over Virginia Wesleyan in the 2012-13 season opener in the Randolph-Macon College Tipoff Tournament on Friday night in Ashland.
The first half was a nip-and-tuck effort, as the lead changed hands eight times, with neither team leading by more than five. The Marlins jumped ahead by four at 8-4 with just two minutes elapsed, but the Eagles responded with an 8-0 run over the next seven minutes to lead 12-8 with 10:59 remaining.
After VWC made a run to lead by three, Diop made a pair of layups and Partonen hit a three pointer to give the Eagles a 23-19 lead with 5:49 to play. The Eagles upped the lead to five on a Partonen layup with 2:27 left, and Diop capped the first half scoring with a layup with 24 seconds left to give UMW a 32-31 halftime edge.
The Eagles' trademark defense arrived in the second half, as the Eagles began the half on a 21-6 run over the first 10 minutes to build a 54-37 advantage with 9:53 to play. Junior Aubrey Howland (10 points) led the way with six in the run.
UMW held off the Marlins the rest of the way, as the Marlins could come no closer than 13. Partonen made four field goals and all six of her free throw attempts, and also added four rebounds and four assists. Diop made six of seven field goals en route to 13 points, and Howland went 4-4 from the field and 2-2 from the line on a perfect shooting night, and added six rebounds.
Virginia Wesleyan was led by Sarah Seipp's 16 points.
The Eagles will face Randolph-Macon on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.