Coming off their final non-conference win over Gallaudet last Thursday, Randolph-Macon head women’s basketball coach Carroll LaHaye was mindful of certain realities as her then-10-2 squad returned to ODAC action for the rest of the regular season.
“We can take a lot of things for granted. We’ve started well and we’ve played really good teams,” LaHaye explained. “I tell them all the games we’ve played thus far have prepared us for conference play.”
She knows freshmen who did not experience the 6-21 season of a year ago may believe wins will come easy, and she knows the upperclassmen are there to show them otherwise.
Saturday, they all got a taste of ODAC life, and it was a bitter pill to swallow. Losing a nine-point lead in the game’s final nine minutes, Randolph-Macon fell at Lynchburg Saturday afternoon, 76-74, for the Yellow Jackets’ first conference loss.
“I was disappointed that we let Lynchburg sneak back in,” LaHaye noted, referencing a two-minute stretch in the second half where the nine-point lead disappeared as Shannon Allan hit two jumpers and a three-pointer, then Jaimie Grace took the Khajae Hester turnover and laid the ball in for two to tie the game at 58-58.
The Hornets’ defense took over from there, only allowing 13 Yellow Jacket points in the final 7:18 of the contest before a Taylor Huber three-pointer at the final horn cut the Hornets’ winning margin to two.
Huber, seemingly 100 percent following time out due to plantar fasciitis, had her second straight 30-point game, scoring 32 points, including five from three-point range. Hester had 12 points. Sarah Parsons, averaging over 21 points a game, went 2-for-14 from the floor, scoring only five points.
“Lynchburg never gave up, kept tugging away, and we let them,” LaHaye said, who noted the extra work in practice since the holiday break on defense for Randolph-Macon began to pay off, certainly in the Gallaudet win, but even at times in Lynchburg.
“I was actually more pleased with our defense than offense, though we had a couple of possession breakdowns and mismatches they capitalized on,” LaHaye said.
But the team also faltered at the charity stripe, only making 12-of-22 at the line.
After a cold start in their first game back in 2014 against Gallaudet, the Jackets went on a 23-0 run late in the first half to take a 47-24 halftime lead. They led by 46 with 9:34 to go, Huber scoring her 30 points in just 12 minutes of action. The Jackets won 91-55, as Gallaudet, unbeaten in their conference, fell to 6-5 overall.
Tuesday night, the Yellow Jackets had a record-breaking performance to get back on the winning track, defeating Randolph at home 115-92. The 115 points were the most in a single-game in program history, while the team also set a record for most 100-point game performances in a season with five. Sophomore Katie Anderson (Patrick Henry) led with 23 points and 14 rebounds, her seventh double-double of the season. Former Patriots teammate, junior Taylor Huber had 18 while freshman Stephanie Staples (Atlee) had 10 points off the bench.