ASHLAND – Randolph-Macon’s women’s basketball team got off to a rocky start for its 2019-20 season Randolph-Macon’s women’s basketball team got off to a rocky start Saturday, with a pared-down lineup for the Randolph-Macon Tip-Off Classic, a pared-down roster because of injuries, and bit of a shaky performance on the court.

But, it was a good test for the Yellow Jackets, and head women’s basketball coach Carroll LaHaye say plenty to be positive about in Randolph-Macon’s 73-63 loss to William Peace in the first game of the tournament.

“This was a good test for us,” LaHaye said. “William Peace was a good team.”

The Tip-Off Classic was supposed to feature four teams: Randolph-Macon, William Peace, Eastern Mennonite, and Vermont Tech. But Vermont Tech was in the grip a disaster, losing 13 of its 18 players for a variety of reasons in the days before the tournament, and bowed out.

The Yellow Jackets were missing the services of senior center Kelly Williams – still recovering from a devastating knee injury suffered last year but expected to return to the court soon – and junior guard Becca Arrington, who was injured recently, but who should likewise return soon.

The tournament hosts got off to a slow start against the Pacers, falling behind 41-24 by halftime.

“I thought that we didn’t compete with them the first 20 minutes at all,” LaHaye said. “I don’t know if it was jitters – I don’t want to make excuses – but we just didn’t compete. That’s on me. That’s not on the team.”

The second half was a different matter. The Yellow Jackets outscored William Peace 39-32, but the hole by then was too deep for the second-half surge to lift them out of.

Randolph-Macon’s biggest deficit was in 3-point shooting. The Yellow Jackets converted just 1-of-12 attempts, while the Pacers connected on 6-of-13 attempts.

Randolph-Macon was led by Michal Ross, who – despite taking a beating on the floor – scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

“Michal’s a gamer. She comes to play,” LaHaye said. “Sometimes I think she surprises herself because she doesn’t do all that stuff in practice necessarily. But, you know, competition is competition. … She did a good job for us tonight.”

Lauryn Cross led William Peace with a game high 28 points. Mikayla Ray had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Kiera Williams chipped in another 10 points.

Other Yellow Jacket leaders included Aimee Debell with 13 points and nine rebounds and Cheridan Hatfield with nine points and nine rebounds.

Dave Lawrence can be reached at dlawrence@mechlocal.com.

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