Junior forward Maddie Shifflett scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and freshman guard Molly Sharman added 15 to lead the University of Mary Washington women's basketball team to a 66-62 victory over North Carolina Wesleyan College on Tuesday evening at Ron Rosner Arena. The Eagles improve to 5-1 on the season.
In a tightly-contested game from the opening tip, the Eagles jumped ahead for the largest lead of the first three frames with a 7-0 lead, including three free throws from Sharman. The lead would swing back and forth between four and six through much of the quarter, until a three pointer from the visitors with 2:49 left cut the margin to 16-14. A Sharman layup with 49 seconds left gave the Eagles a four-point cushion, but the Bishops scored at the buzzer to draw within two after 10 minutes.
The second quarter was much of the same, with neither team leading by more than four, save for one occasion when Shifflett buried a jumper to give the Eagles a six-point advantage at 26-20 with 6:59 left. The Bishops used a pair of three pointers to pull within one on three occasions, but the Eagles maintained the lead thanks to 10 points from Shifflett and five from freshman Hannah Stockman. UMW led, 35-32, at halftime.
A three pointer from freshman Ashley Martin upped UMW's lead to six with 6:02 left in the third, but again the Bishops rallied, with a three pointer cutting their deficit to 43-42 with 2:03 left. The Bishops knotted the score at 45-45 with 1:08 left, but a free throw from Stockman and a driving layup from Sharman returned the Eagle elad to three, at 48-45, entering the fourth.
The Eagles scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to take a game-high 12 point lead, with Sharman scoring a pair of baskets. NC Wesleyan again tried to battle back, but a pair of big three pointers from senior Emily Thompson kept the lead comfortable. A pair of last minute three pointers from the Bishops cut the marggin to six, and a last second basket moved the final to 66-62 in favor of the Eagles.
Shifflett made 8-14 field goals and all four of her free throws en route to 20 points, and Sharman amde 6-11 shots for her 15. Junior Tory Martin also grabbed nine rebounds to tie for the team lead. Thompson dished out five assists to go with her eight points.
Mary Washington shot 38.1% from the field (24-63), making 4-16 three point tries and 14-18 free throws. NC Wesleyan shot 34.3% (24-70), making 10-29 three pointers and 4-6 free throws. The Eagles controlled the glass, 52-39.
Mary Washington will return to action next Thursday when the Eagles visit Randolph-Macon College at 6:00 p.m.