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ODU Women Break Losing Streak in a Big Way, Blowing Past App State, 68-49

Bruce Butler

Jenny Nkem Womsi scores two of her seven points against App State

By Harry Minium
NORFOLK, Va. – After a difficult, four-game road trip, the Old Dominion women's basketball team sorely needed to play well, as well as secure a victory, and got both Thursday night.
The Monarchs rolled to a large lead early and then held off an Appalachian State surge in the second half to claim a 68-49 victory before 2,189 fans at Chartway Arena.
En'Dya Buford, the junior college transfer from Memphis, led the Monarchs with 14 points and added three assists and three steals, but she went down hard underneath the basket in the fourth quarter after being fouled by App State's Faith Alston.

She was carried off the court by ODU assistant coach Roland Jones, husband of head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones. It isn't known how seriously she was injured, but Milton-Jones said the junior guard told her after the game that she will play Saturday, when the Monarchs host Georgia State.
"She was like, 'Coach, I'm playing Saturday,'" Milton-Jones said. "I would love to have her available but we're going to assess her and she how she's feeling. Tomorrow morning could be a different story."
Kaye Clark added 12 points, and Simone Cunningham, Brenda Fontana and Jordan McLaughlin all added nine. Cunningham pulled down 12 rebounds for ODU, a stat in which the Monarchs were dominant – they outrebounded App State, 46-25.
App State, which ranked 26th nationally in offensive rebounding with 14.9 per game, managed to pull down just three.
The victory ended a two-game losing streak for ODU (13-5 overall, 5-3 Sun Belt Conference), which included a 90-60 loss at Marshall, the Sun Belt leader.
The loss at Marshall, in which the Monarchs were outscored, 30-10, in the fourth quarter, was a devastating defeat that nonetheless was a wakeup call. ODU led midway through the third quarter, and then were blown out by the Herd.
"That was a difficult game to digest," said Jenny Nkem Womsi, a junior college transfer from Libreville, Gabon, who scored seven points.
"It took me a minute. It just like keeps playing in your head and you're going like, 'really?'
"But it's a game where we learned a lot. It's one of those games that you need to actually make you get better."
ODU ended the road trip with a 72-64 loss at James Madison on Saturday.
"The Marshall game kind of gave me nightmares," Milton-Jones said. "No coach wants to see their team just fall apart the way we did in the fourth quarter.
"It was disheartening to see but it was also necessary. When you've played the game as long as I have, you understand that these moments present themselves, when you get your (butts) kicked and handed to you.
"If you handle it and assess it properly and run diagnostics on your team, you can come out better than ever.
"And I felt like that loss woke up something in us. Winning can sometimes disguise things happening under the surface.
"After that road trip we had some heavy-hitting conversations and were able to air out some things that could have become issues that we were harboring internally."
ODU got back to playing tough defense against App State, which made just 14 of 46 shots (30.4 percent), including 4 of 22 (18.2 percent) on three-point shots.
ODU rolled to a 26-11 lead early in the second quarter and led at the half, 34-21.
App State made it close briefly in the third quarter, trimming the lead to seven three times, the last on a driving layup by J'Mani Ingram with 3:38 left in the third quarter. ODU then put the game away with a 7-0 run early in the four quarter, capped by a Cunningham layup that built the lead back to 17.  
The Monarchs have a quick turnaround time, with less than 48 hours to prepare before they host Georgia State Saturday at 1 p.m. The game is part of a doubleheader with the men's basketball team, which hosts Georgia Southern at 7.
It is the alumni game for both programs and fans are asked to wear Hudson Blue for both. It will also be Prostate Cancer Awareness night for both games, with t-shirts available on a first-come, first-served basis in the Chartway Arena lobby.