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The Radford Women’s Basketball team played Eastern Mennonite University on Nov. 12 in both squads’ season opener. The Highlanders hit the big 100-point mark in the last minute of the game, a feat rarely achieved in collegiate basketball. RU’s stiff defense held EMU to just 42 points on the night.
It was a runaway from the start; Radford jumped out to a 19-9 lead within the first eight minutes. Junior guards Ashley Buckhannon and Da’Naria Erwin Spencer came up huge for the Highs with 29 points combined in the first half.
“We were excited, our newcomers are very exciting,” said Erwin Spencer. “It was a good season opener.”
However, it wasn’t just offense that contributed to the Highs’ win. Defense played a big role as well. The Highs had 13 steals in the first half, which contributed to a good bulk of their fast break points. RU nearly doubled EMU’s point total, with a score of 47-25 after the first half.
RU continued their exceptional play in the second half, refusing to let up on an obviously outmatched EMU team that was outrebounded 17-11 in the first 20 minutes of the game, and committed 16 turnovers in the first half alone.
“Everyone contributed to the scoring, being out on the floor, knowing what to do, and having good defense as well,” said Buckhannon.
RU was unstoppable on defense. The Highlanders converted 42 points off of turnovers, which proved to be a big contribution to the 100 point score. The game was the first time in five years that the Highlanders scored 100 or more points in a single contest.
On scoring 100 points, Head Coach Tajama Ngongba said, “A lot of it came from our defensive intensity, as well as from easy transition points in the paint. We are going to be competitive, with great players who have great chemistry on the floor. I want to see that all year, growing more and more.”
Sophomore forward Tiana Cannon scored a total of 15 points, and had a team-leading eight rebounds overall. Junior center Ema Reskoska had 11 points for the day. Erwin Spencer came up fierce in defensive play with five steals, and a total of 15 points. Freshman guard Ashia Holmes contributed four steals. Buckhannon had an overwhelming 17 points for the Highs.
After the game, she said, “We’re going to keep working until we make a strong statement in the Big South Conference.”
The Highs will play their next game against Winston-Salem State University on Wednesday, Nov. 16 with the tip off scheduled for 5 p.m.