The Emory women’s basketball team put up one win and one loss in their first two home appearances of 2019.
The Eagles started the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend with a painful loss to the Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) Spartans on Jan. 18, but found their wings in time to take out the Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) Tartans and earn their second UAA win of the season on Jan. 20. With the holiday behind them, the team’s record sits at 11-5 (2-3 UAA) with roughly a third of their season remaining.
Emory started its matchup against Case Western (UAA) on a weak note. After scoring the first points of the match and taking a 2-0 lead, the Eagles failed to find their footing for the rest of the game. Rebounds helped Case Western gain a sizeable 15-4 lead early, which grew to 24-8 nearing the end of the quarter. The Spartans’ momentum eventually tapered, allowing the Eagles to hold on and finish the quarter trailing 24-11.
The Eagles entered the second period ready to make the matchup competitive. The teams scored seven points combined in the first six minutes of the period. The last chunk of the quarter was evenly paced with layup matching layup and miss matching miss. Despite improved defensive play, Emory struggled to make up its deficit. Senior guard Azzairia Jackson-Sherrod sunk two late jump shots to give the Eagles momentum before halftime. The teams left the court with the Spartans ahead, 36-23.
Emory kept its newfound edge going into the second half. Senior center Ashley Oldshue helped keep fans on their feet early on with six points and four rebounds in four minutes. With the help of Eagle fouls, the Spartans increased their lead to 16 points. Emory did not respond quickly enough. The third quarter ended the same way as the previous two — Case Western up 13 points, 56-43.
The fourth period, Emory’s last chance for a comeback, was more of the same. The visitors answered early points by the home team with little delay. Although junior guard Allison Chernow bought Emory within six points of the lead, Case Western owned the end of the game. Late intentional foul efforts by the Eagles only benefited the Spartans and failed to buy Emory enough time to win. Final score: 71-57 Case Western.
Despite a lopsided score for most of the game, Emory played three solid periods of basketball. The team scored exactly as many points as the Spartans in the second and third quarters and trailed by just a point in the fourth quarter. The early lead gained by the Spartans was simply too much for the Eagles to overcome even with three competitive quarters. The bright spot for Emory was Oldshue’s 16 points and 11 rebounds, her third double-double this season.
Their second matchup pitted a defeated Emory squad against Carnegie Mellon, another UAA opponent. The Eagles, taking a page from Case Western’s book, pushed off to an early 10-2 lead, with all ten points coming from Oldshue and Chernow. The Tartans were able to adjust and slow the pace of the game, dropping Emory’s lead to four. The end of the first quarter saw a cascade of three-point attempts from both sides, with none connecting, leaving the score 16-12 Emory.
The second quarter was full of slow but competitive basketball, defined by shots from both sides. Only two points were scored in the first 4.5 minutes before both teams found their stride. The Tartans took the lead twice in the end of the half, only to see Emory catch up both times, thanks to clutch shots from Chernow. One last jump shot from junior forward Erin Lindahl gave Emory the lead heading to the locker room with the score at 26-24.
The second half began with more back and forth play. For nearly 5 minutes, neither team pulled very far ahead. Major substitutions from both teams allowed Emory to take control. Chernow, already a key player in the game, began to lift the Eagles. The team continued to dominate and outscored the Tartans at every opportunity. Consistent rebounds and assists brought the team to a 46-35 lead going in to the final quarter.
An eight-point run early in the fourth period set the stage for a Tartans comeback. Early missed shots by the Eagles caused a slight shift in momentum. A 3-minute stretch with no points scored seemed to suggest the game was over when Carnegie Mellon began another strong push. Emory scored only two of the last 10 points of the game, dropping their lead toward a few baskets. Despite noticeable pressure by the Tartans, the Eagles held on to their lead to win 56-51.
The Eagles saw major improvement in first-quarter energy from Friday to Sunday. The quick lead Case Western obtained was a critical factor in Emory’s loss, whereas their dominant play in the early parts of both halves shut down Carnegie Mellon. Overall the team looked competitive in their return to Atlanta, but they showed a clear weakness in the slow start to their first game. Continuing to deliver pressure throughout all four quarters, with the addition of some early energy, could turn the Eagles into a postseason nightmare.
The Eagles will return to action on Friday, Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. at home against the Brandeis University (Mass.) Judges.