By Mike DeVader, Reinhardt Director of Athletic Communications & Media
GAINESVILLE, Ga. – A stellar first quarter and 49 combined points from the duo of Catherine Shope and Amberlee Zeller helped Reinhardt hold off a pesky Brenau (Ga.) squad that didn't give up until the final whistle, 85-76, Thursday night in Gainesville.
The Eagles improved to 13-2 overall with the triumph and won back-to-back games to hit double digits in Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) play at 10-2.
"Proud of the team as we earned a good road win this evening," head coach Toby Wagoner said. "I thought we played hard and thought we had several minutes of really good offense and defense. This is such a tough stretch on the schedule; heck, we're playing an NBA schedule without the flights and money. With very little time to prep or practice it's hard to improve. We are trying really hard to be smart with the ladies' time and bodies – prep, rest and recovery will be huge for the next two weeks.
"Brittany played a really good game. She had a tough defensive assignment and knocked down some shots. Really happy for her and hope it builds her confidence. I really thought we had a couple seniors (Bethany and Amberlee) pick up some scoring with Ashton out. Catherine did Catherine things, and I thought Moe was tough tonight as well. We were also really happy with the solid minutes that our bench gave us tonight. It's hard to win games and it's extremely hard to win conference games on the road. We are happy, healthy and tired; now we will get home late and catch the bus for West Virginia at 9 a.m."
Overall, four players for the hometown team hit double figures – all starters – as Bethany Headrick (16 points) and Brittany Burnett (12) joined their aforementioned teammates with 10-plus points. Headrick earned another double-double as well with 10 rebounds, while Shope was out-front in boards with 12.
The AAC battle turned bad quickly for the Golden Tigers, as the hosts had no answers on either side of the ball in the opening 10 minutes as Reinhardt soared to a 21-5 lead. From there, however, Brenau would find its footing and stand tall against the nation's 23rd-ranked squad as it tried to chip away at the major hole it created.
The Golden Tigers would gain ground in the second quarter (24-19) before the Eagles would stretch its advantage by two more tallies following a 24-22 outburst in the third stanza. Now down, 64-51, Brenau was able to get within seven points early in the fourth, but the visitors quickly got back above 10 points and cruised to another win from there.
Darika Chelsey was the lone player off the bench to get into the scorebook in the victory.
Collectively, Reinhardt shot 44.3 percent (31-of-70), hit six treys and connected on 17-for-23 from the free throw line.
The final contest of the week takes place on Saturday afternoon on the road against the Rams of Bluefield (Va.).
First tip is scheduled for 2 p.m.
For more information on Reinhardt Women's Basketball, please click here.