Harris Lifts Marlins to 58-53 Victory

Harris hit a decisive three-pointer with 32 seconds left on Friday night.
Harris hit a decisive three-pointer with 32 seconds left on Friday night.

Harris Lifts Marlins to 58-53 Victory

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- Junior Jayla Harris connected on a go-ahead three-pointer with 32 seconds left to lift the Virginia Wesleyan University women's basketball team to a 58-53 win over the University of Mary Washington on Friday.

The win is the first over Mary Washington since the 1999-00 season, snapping a four-game losing streak to the Eagles.

Similar to Wednesday's season opener, the Marlins led at halftime. VWU took its first lead of the game at the 8:51 mark of the second quarter when NiAsia Caldwell connected on a jumper for a 13-11 advantage.

The Marlin defense locked down Mary Washington, holding the Eagles to just five points in the quarter. Virginia Wesleyan led 22-16 at intermission.

Mary Washington tried to rally at the beginning of the second half when Jordan Pamlanye made a jumper to cut the lead to four. Harris put a stop to the Eagle charge, scoring five-straight points to push the Marlins back up 27-18.

The Marlins continued to lead throughout the third quarter, holding a 43-39 edge heading into the fourth. Jaelyn Washington and Amanda Gerni contributed three points each to start the final period as VWU took a commanding 10-point lead.

Trailing 51-42, Emily Thompson and Kendall Parker connected on trifectas to pull the Eagles within just three points with 4:17 to go. A lengthy injury delay followed that lasted 15 minutes, forcing both teams to warm up again in preparation for the final 4:15. Mary Washington was not affected by the delay as McKenzie Jenkins converted a jumper at 3:01 to pull the hosts within a point. Thompson added a layup at 1:29 to tie the contest.

Following a Virginia Wesleyan timeout, Tiera Johnson connected on a jumper in the paint to go back in front by two. Parker answered for Mary Washington, driving around several screens for a left-handed layup with just 49 seconds remaining.

The Marlins advanced the ball up the court, taking some time off the clock before Harris connected on her decisive three-pointer.

Mary Washington had several chances to cut back into the lead. A missed jumper was pulled down by Taylor Barton who kicked it out to Parker for a three-point attempt. The shot rimmed out where it was corralled by Caldwell with just one second remaining. The Eagles fouled the senior, who converted both free throws to ensure the win.

Parker led all scorers with 20 points off the bench for Mary Washington (0-2). Barton finished with nine points and 13 rebounds.

Harris finished with 18 points and six rebounds for the Marlins. Naeemah Morris and Johnson had seven points each off the bench.

Virginia Wesleyan (1-1) faces Gettysburg College on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the championship of the Hyatt Place Tipoff Tournament. Gettysburg (1-0) defeated Lehman College on Friday to advance to the title game. The Marlins are 2-0 all-time against Gettysburg with the last contest coming in the 1985-86 season.