ASHLAND, VA (WWBT) - 30 years ago, Randolph-Macon took a chance in hiring a program coordinator at the North Richmond YMCA as their head women's basketball coach. On Friday night, that woman became just the 15th Division III women's basketball coach to record 500 victories.
The Yellow Jackets topped Roanoke College, 82-70, in ODAC action on Friday night, giving Carroll LaHaye a legendary victory.
R-MC has now topped Roanoke four consecutive times, including a win in last season's ODAC Championship.
Randolph-Macon (6-7 / 4-4 ODAC) was led by Molly Brown who paced the Jackets with 15 points, while Taylor Wieczorek and Maggie Roy chipped in 14 points apiece. Roy dished out a team-high six assists and recorded a game-high four steals. Freshman Sarah Parsons added 13 points.
Roanoke (1-9 / 1-5 ODAC) was led by Nicci Moats who finished with a double-double of 25 points and 14 rebounds. Paxton Gwin and Laurel Hankins chipped in 16 and 11 points, respectively.
The Maroons jumped out to an early 8-2 lead behind back-to-back three point plays by Moats. Trailing 23-18 with just over four minutes remaining in the first period, R-MC put together a 13-4 run to close the half, capped by a Roy bucket with two seconds left on the clock.
The Yellow Jackets pushed their advantage to seven just a minute into the second stanza when Jillian Asay drilled a three pointer from the left wing. Roanoke battled back rallying behind the play of Moats to stay within striking distance, but Wieczorek matched Moats down low, scoring eight straight points to give the Jackets a 42-35 lead at the 17 minute mark.
Both teams traded baskets over the next 12 minutes of play before a Parson's layup would push the lead to double-digits for the first time and the Yellow Jackets never looked back.
R-MC forced 28 Roanoke turnovers, leading to 14 steals on the evening. The Yellow Jackets also held a 15-9 edge on the offensive glass.
LaHaye, who is in the midst of her 30th season on the sidelines at R-MC, has won 63% of her games during her illustrious career and becomes just the 49th coach in NCAA women's hoops history to reach the 500 win milestone.
Randolph-Macon has hung seven ODAC Championship banners in Crenshaw Gymnasium during LaHaye's tenure. R-MC has won five of the last seven league titles and has made seven NCAA Tournament appearances since 2003.
LaHaye has directed her teams to nine consecutive winning seasons and 18 overall during her time in Ashland. The Yellow Jackets have posted 12 seasons in which they have won 20 or more games and have played for the ODAC title on 10 occasions. Since joining the ODAC in 1989-90, R-MC has won a staggering 75% of its games, earning 324 victories over their conference foes during that time.
A three-time ODAC Coach of the Year, LaHaye's squads have garnered national attention advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16 on four occasions, trips to the Elite 8 twice and a place in the 2005 National Championship Game.
The 2004-05 Yellow Jacket squad was arguably the best-ever, finishing with the most wins in the program's history at 30-2; becoming the first-ever women's team in the ODAC to go 20-0 and advance to the NCAA tournament Final Four; finished as National Runners Up; achieving the longest winning streak in the history of the program at 23 games; and finished the season ranked second in the nation and at the top of the South Region rankings.
LaHaye has mentored two National Players of the Year in Megan Silva (2006) and Molly Ariail (2010), and Amanda Hiltunen '09, Silva and Ariail were named finalists for the prestigious Jostens Award during their respective senior seasons in Ashland, with Silva becoming the first Randolph-Macon athlete to win the award in 2006.