RADFORD, Va. (RADFORD UNIV.) – The Radford women’s basketball program fought hard and overcame early struggles before coming up just short 49-45 in front of 3,000 young fans on Education Day against ETSU.
Maci Rhoades highlighted the morning setting a career-high in three-pointers made sinking a trio in the second half alone to fuel Radford’s comeback attempt. Ashlyn Traylor-Walker, despite playing with foul trouble, also found a way to fuel the offense late finishing with 13 points and seven rebounds.
The first quarter was a start the Highlanders would like to have back after offensive struggles. Radford got on the board early thanks to a soft floater from Ashlyn, but it would end up being the only points they got for the next 12 minutes of play. Despite the cold streak, strong defense kept the Highlanders in the game trailing just 13-2 after the cold streak.
Breaking the cold was Ashlyn driving into the paint followed by a big three-pointer by the freshman Joi Williams. With the offense jolted, Radford went to work to mitigate the damage. A pair of free throws by Ashlyn and Rhoades’ first three of the game pulled the deficit to just 21-12 at the half.
The Highlanders came out of the half with just a lone made basket by Ellie Taylor over the first five minutes. Not backing down, Olivia Wagner got the rally started driving through the paint followed by a three-pointer from Rhoades and a quick basket from Taniya Hanner to make it a 26-21 ETSU lead.
Hanner continued leading the charge, scoring Radford’s next five points thanks in part to her first collegiate three-pointer. Down just 34-28 entering the fourth quarter, Radford kept pushing and got the education day crowd energized.
Ashlyn got the fourth quarter scoring started and three straight made free throws from Bria Beverly and Wagner made it a three-point game at 36-33 with just under nine minutes to play. After a 4-0 run by the Buccaneers, Radford punched back with a 6-0 run capped off by another Rhoades three-pointer with just five minutes remaining.
After two straight scoreless minutes Radford needed an answer still trailing just 43-39. Rhoades hit her biggest three of the morning right at two minutes remaining to pull Radford as close as 43-42. ETSU, who hadn’t shot well from the free throw line for a majority of the match, found their stride in the final minute scoring four of their last six points from the charity stripe to hold on for the 49-45 final. Radford caps three straight home games this weekend when they play host to another Southern Conference foe UNC Greensboro. On Saturday, November 18th, the Highlanders and Spartans face off for a 2 p.m. tip streaming on ESPN+.