SALEM, Va. – Guilford College’s Amy Steller (Advance, N.C./Davie/Pfeiffer) tallied a game-high 15 points as the second-seeded Quakers advanced to the program’s eighth Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Championship Game with a victory over third-seeded Emory & Henry College, 67-52, in Saturday’s ODAC Semifinals at the Salem Civic Center. The victory earns Guilford their fifth appearance in the league’s title game since 2012.
The Quakers (23-3) opened the first 2:30 of the contest on an 8-0 run as Heaven Walters (Elkin, N.C./Starmount) sunk two lay-ups in the stretch. Emory & Henry (19-8) got on the board with a pair of buckets as the Wasps shrunk the lead to five points through the middle of the quarter. Kara Stafford converted on a three-point possession with 2:25 left in the quarter to cut the lead down to two. Both teams traded baskets all the way to the final seconds when Sydney McKinney made a lay-up with ten seconds left to tie the game, 17-17.
The Quakers tallied four points over the first three minutes of the second quarter as the Quakers held the Wasps scoreless for the first 3:15 of the period. Guilford produced an 11-3 run 6:10 into the quarter when Stafford sunk the Wasps’ second and final field goal of the period. Both of Emory & Henry’s two field goals in the period were from three-point range. The Quakers ended the period on an 8-0 run to extend their lead to 12 points, their largest lead of the half.
The run enlarged to 13-2 after 2:24 elapsed in the third quarter with two Walters lay-ups in 41 seconds. The lead grew as large as 16 points with 4:44 left in the period after a Lauren Ramsey (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) lay-up. Emory & Henry’s defense challenged the Quakers, holding Guilford without a field goal for the remainder of the period. The Wasps marginally capitalized, only producing a 6-2 run to close out the quarter.
Emory & Henry brought the lead down to eight one minute into the fourth quarter, but the Quakers rebounded 12 seconds later on a Miracle Walters (Elkin, N.C./Elkin) lay-up to bring the lead back to double digits. Peyton Williams brought the lead down to nine with 7:57 left, but a five-point spurt from the Walters sisters over a 32-second stretch increased the lead back to double-digits for good. Essence Abraham (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley) sunk four free throws over the last 1:20 of the contest to bring the lead back to 15 points, sealing the victory.
Steller shot five-of-11 from the field and three-of-five from three-point range to lead the Quakers in scoring for the second-straight night. Anais Weatherly (Winston-Salem, N.C./Mount Tabor) collected her 11th double-double of the season with 13 points on three-of-five shooting and seven-of-ten shooting from the foul line while adding ten rebounds. She also added a game-high seven steals on the defensive end. Heaven Walters finished with 11 points on five-of-eight shooting with seven rebounds.
McKinney was the only Wasps’ player in double-figure scoring, totaling ten points on five-of-eight shooting with four rebounds and three steals. Williams finished with nine points off the bench.
The Quakers shot 39.3 percent from the field compared to the Wasps’ 34.4 percent. Guilford took frequent trips to the foul line, shooting 19-of-29 (65.5 percent) from the charity stripe while Emory & Henry only shot four-of-eight (50 percent). Both sides fought through cold shooting from three-point range with Guilford shooting four-of-16 (25 percent) and Emory & Henry finishing 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Quakers out-rebounded the Wasps, 44-37, while collecting a 16-7 edge in second-chance points. Guilford earned a hard 24-20 advantage in the paint and took a 17-13 edge in points-off-turnovers. Emory & Henry committed 22 turnovers to Guilford’s 18.
The Quakers look to earn the program’s fifth ODAC title tomorrow afternoon, facing the top-seed Lynchburg College in the ODAC Championship Game at 3:30 p.m. The Quakers and Hornets split the season series and tied for first place in the league’s regular season standings.