WINCHESTER, Va. – The Shenandoah University women's basketball team opened up its season with a win for the second time in three seasons under Melissa Smeltzer-Kraft's direction with a 64-59 non-league victory over Goucher Tuesday evening.
Shenandoah (1-0) trailed 30-26 at the break and 34-26 with 9:17 to play in the third before rallying versus the Gophers (0-1).
Freshman Ashley Oakes began the comeback by draining a 3-pointer at 9:06, which started an 8-0 run for the victors.
Senior Olivia Callan, who led the Hornets with 16 points, followed Oakes' '3' with one of her own before freshman McKenzie Mathis canned a pair from the free throw line to tie it at 34-34 with 7:36 remaining in the stanza.
Goucher recovered and was able to take a five-point, 45-40, lead by the 2:04 mark only to see SU rally again.
After GC scored the initial two baskets of the fourth, Shenandoah reeled off a 10-3 run in a span of 5:32 to lead 59-52 with 1:24 remaining.
Goucher began to foul in an effort to get back in it, but SU made six of its final eight from the charity stripe to ice the victory.
"I am so proud of this team and its ability to come back," Smeltzer-Kraft said. "We got down early, but battled back.
"We worked in a bunch of freshmen who played extremely well and got great leadership from our seniors."
Smeltzer-Kraft played four freshmen for double digit minutes with Mathis, Oakes, Donley and Jordan Sondrol all scoring at least two points.
Shenandoah is back in action this weekend at the Rose City Classic hosted by Drew University.