WILMINGTON — With a strong second half defensive effort, the eighth-seeded Wilmington College women’s basketball team opened Ohio Athletic Conference play Monday with a 72-57 win over ninth-seeded Muskingum at Fred Raizk Arena.
Wilmington will play 6 p.m. Tuesday at No. 1 seed John Carroll.
Hannah Binkley led WC with 18 points. Zahrya Bailey and McKayla Binkley had 11 points each. McKayla finished with 10 rebounds. Kennedy Lewis led with four assists.
Wilmington struggled mightily on offense early in the game. With McKayla Binkley, who has 66 points in the last two games, was held scoreless until the 6:25 mark of the second quarter.
Meanwhile, the Quakers had eight turnovers and seven points until an Ellen Nilback stickback made it 18-9 with 55 to play in the first.
In the midst of a 2 for 11 shooting skid, Wilmington fell behind then rallied as Muskingum missed seven of eight shots.
McKayla Binkley capped a 12-4 run at the 4:59 mark of the second to pull WC within 22-19. McKayla Binkley assisted on Hannah Binkley’s three-pointer at 1:46, 27-22.
Both teams had second-chance scoring opportunities — Muskingum cashed in with a three and WC had a miss. The result was a 30-24 halftime lead for the Muskies.
Offensive woes were a thing of the past as the third period unfolded. Hitting on 7 of its first 10 field goals attempts, highlighted by Hannah Binkley’s three at 5:34, Wilmington surged into the lead.
Bailey made a layup at 4:18 and WC led 44-36. The difference grew to 11 on another Bailey jumper at 2:58.
But Muskingum was not going away quietly. The Muskies pulled within six, 49-43, late in the third. But Hannah Binkley made a layup in the waning seconds of the third to give WC a 53-44 advantage going to the final period.
Kellis Jones had a steal and layup to make it 59-47 WC. The Quakers put the game away when McKayla Binkley scored a second-chance basket then Lewis’ steal led to a Haley Cook layup. With 4:55 to go, WC led 67-51.
The way the WC defense was playing, Muskies were 7 for 26 from the floor to that point in the second half, the 16-point margin was more than safe.