OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- A brief scoring spurt in the first half for the Stevenson Mustangs gave way to a longer scoring surge by the Virginia Wesleyan Marlins, who captured the lead and rode it the rest of the way to a 72-56 non-conference win on Sunday.
VWC's victory was the third in a row for the Marlins (7-2) on a current five-game road swing, and it snapped a four-game winning streak for Stevenson (4-4).
The Mustangs' Kyarra Harmon and Kayla Kelly scored six consecutive points in less than a minute to pull Stevenson within a 15-14 score with 12:32 remaining in the first half, but the host team could not keep it going.
After a timeout to regroup, Virginia Wesleyan returned to the court and produced a 10-0 run to take a 25-14 lead four minutes later. Junior Kerri Taylor ripped through a pair of triples and junior Nancy Kelly took care of things in side as the duo combined for all 10 of the points that gave VWC the lead for good. Junior Andrea Paphites had three assists on the four baskets.
Stephanie Martinez connected for a trey to get Stevenson back into the scoring column, only to see VWC sophomore Kelly Jones knock down back-to-back triples to push the Marlins into a 31-17 lead.
Cassie Conley, Paphites, Kelly and Jones kept VWC moving forward with timely scoring and the Marlins opened up their largest lead of the first half at 41-22 with 2:29 on the clock. Virginia Wesleyan led 43-28 at halftime.
Virginia Wesleyan maintained its lead the rest of the way, using triples by Katie Tassa and Brittany Glasco to help open up the largest Marlin lead of the game at 53-30 with 15:42 remaining to be played. Stevenson trimmed the gap to 13 points late in the game, but never got closer.
Three-point shooting helped propel the win for the Marlins, who attempted 26 and hit 11. Jones hit 5 of 9 attempts en route to a team-high 17 points and Taylor hit 4 of 8 and scored a career-high 14 points. Kelly was strong inside for the Marlins, posting a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. She put through 6 of 7 field goal attempts.
Paphites finished with 10 points, but turned in another solid game as she recorded game-high totals with seven assists, four blocks and three steals.
Kelly led Stevens with 20 points and three assists, followed by Harmon with 13 points and 12 rebounds.