WILMINGTON — The Wilmington College women’s basketball team build a 17-point halftime lead and rode it to victory as the Quakers defeated Mount St. Joseph University 75-65 in the season-opener at Fred Raizk Arena Tuesday evening.
The Quakers finished 27-of-73 (37.0 percent) from the field with four three-pointers and 17-of-25 (68.0 percent) from the free throw line. Wilmington also won the rebounding battle 48-35 and dished out 17 assists. The Lions hit 24-of-59 (40.7 percent) for the game, also made four triples and hit 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) from the charity stripe.
“I thought our team brought the energy and excitement tonight,” head coach Janel Blankespoor said. “I purposefully tried to schedule some weeknight games to allow campus to attend. The crowd was awesome and we hope the product on the court encourages them to return.”
Individually, a trio of Quakers – Kennedy Lewis, Zahrya Bailey and Marisa Seiler – finished with double figures in scoring. Lewis had 13 points and six assists while drawing 10 fouls while Seiler had 13 points, all in the first half, and seven rebounds. Bailey missed a double-double by a single rebound with 12 points and nine boards.
Madison Drummonds of MSJ scored 14 of her 26 points in the fourth quarter.
Wilmington (1-0) hosts the Fred Raizk Memorial Tournament this weekend.
Wilmington struggled with turnovers early, committing six in the first quarter. A Jaylah Captain three-pointer two minutes in put the hosts ahead 8-5, but the Quakers scored just three points over the next four minutes. MSJ took advantage as a Shelby Turner free throw gave the Lions an 18-13 lead with two minutes to play in the opening period.
The Quakers ended the period on an 8-0 run as Seiler found Brooke Stover for a layup to make it 18-15 and Seiler grabbed a Stover miss and scored on the host’s next possession. The freshman from Wauseon scored again with 30 seconds left and Lewis cut to the basket to make it 21-18 after 10 minutes.
The hosts tightened things up defensively in the second quarter and allowed just five points over the first seven minutes of the period. During that time, Wilmington scored 16 points capped by a Seiler triple and a Lewis layup to take a 37-21 advantage.
Wilmington led 43-26 at halftime, but a poor start to the second half forced a timeout from Blankespoor less than a minute into the third quarter. MSJ trimmed the lead to 11, but a Jada Pohlen three from the wing with 3:11 to play in the period stemmed the tide. The Quakers’ largest lead (62-43) came with a minute to play in the third, but MSJ didn’t go away. The Lions cut that deficit in half as Drummonds scored two of her 26 points to make it 70-61 with 2:25 to play. The hosts, who made just one field goal in the fourth quarter, hit free throws in the final two minutes to seal the victory.