VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Randolph-Macon shot 78% from the free throw line, going 30-38 en route to a 62-56 victory over Virginia Wesleyan Tuesday night. R-MC (16-3, 9-2 ODAC) was anchored by juniors Kelsey Wisner (York, Pa./Central York) and Jayla Wade (Newport News, Va./Heritage) who each made every free throw opportunity on the night – going 6-6 and 4-4 respectively.
Virginia Wesleyan (9-11, 6-5 ODAC) took the first points of the contest with an opening jumper. The teams traded the small lead back and forth for much of the first five minutes of the period, with R-MC taking the largest lead of the opening minutes as sophomore Kelly Williams (Garysburg, N.C./Halifax Academy) converted a hoop and harm with 5:14 remaining, putting R-MC up by four. VWU jumped back into the fray quickly, tying the game at 8, 30 seconds after Williams had pushed R-MC ahead. But from then, the Yellow Jackets made a well-paced aim at a substantial lead. Over the final five minutes of the quarter, Williams had another bucket and a pair of free throws while senior Teal Reynolds (Sterling, Va. / Potomac Falls) added a free throw and Wisner added two, putting R-MC up 15-8 with 1:17 to play; At the same time, R-MC's defending did not allow VWU to score a single point until under a minute to play in the frame. VWU added just the one bucket, while R-MC closed out with four points in the final minute on a jumper from freshman Becca Arrington (Amelia, Va./Amelia Academy) and another pair of Reynolds free throws.
But despite the Marlins' quiet end to the first quarter, the second was anything but. VWU rallied back, blocking R-MC from scoring over the first four minutes of the quarter. Meanwhile, the Marlins closed the gap to a single point with 5:56 to go in the period and tied the game at 20 with 4:40 to go. The game would be tied at 22 just moments later – but Reynolds got an opportunity at the charity stripe, converting both chances and beginning an R-MC run that saw 11 points for the Yellow Jackets and only two for the Marlins. R-MC had the halftime advantage 33-24.
The Yellow Jackets maintained their distance for most of the third quarter, especially at the free throw line. The first seven points of the quarter for the Yellow Jackets came at the charity stripe. With the 40-31 advantage, VWU tried to mount a run back. The Marlins hit a shot from beyond the arc while reigning Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Week, sophomore Charlotte Woods (Richmond, Va./Trinity), added a free throw pushing the score to 43-34. The teams continued to trade baskets with R-MC keeping its distance for much of the period, taking a 50-40 lead into the fourth quarter. Woods and Wade each had five points in the frame, with Woods pulling in four rebounds in the quarter.
Reynolds made the first field goal of the fourth quarter, a layup 32 seconds into the final frame. But the Marlins were destined to stick around. VWU scored five quick points, bringing the score within seven. R-MC got points from a Williams field goal and a pair of free throws from Wade, pushing the score to 56-47. A three-pointer and a field goal from VWU brought the Marlins back within four – the game's closest margin since the 2nd quarter. Woods made a quick layup to push the game back out to two possessions, which is where Randolph-Macon kept it for the remainder of the game, winning 62-56.
Williams led all scorers on the night with 24 points, including going 10-13 from the free throw line. She pulled in 13 rebounds and added four blocks and a steal. Reynolds was in double figures as well with 11 points while stealing away three opportunities and two assists. Wade was the team's assist leader with five while also scoring seven points and pulling in three rebounds. Woods also scored seven and pulled down 13 rebounds, with five coming on the offensive boards. Wisner scored nine points and pulled in seven rebounds as well as gaining four steals and an assist. Arrington finished with four points and added a rebound, steal and assist each.
Randolph-Macon returns to the court on Saturday back at home in Ashland against Emory & Henry at 4:30 PM.