WILMINGTON — For the better part of three quarters, the Wilmington College women’s basketball team held No. 18 Carnegie Mellon in check Saturday in the championship game of the Damon’s/Hampton Inn Tip-Off Tournament at Fred Raizk Arena.
However, the Quakers went ice cold from the field and the Tartans parlayed a 17-7 fourth quarter advantage to claim the victory 63-56 and the tournament championship.
Going into the final period, Wilmington was clinging to a 49-46 lead, but Carnegie Mellon used a 7-1 run to pull ahead, and never let it slip away.
With the win, Carnegie Mellon stays unbeaten at 3-0, while the Quakers fall to 2-1 on the season.
“When they went to the zone, we just could not make our shots,” Scheve said. “We made some poor selections on our shots and perhaps the fatigue factor set in. The last seven minutes things just did not go our way. Overall though I’m really proud of the kids for the way they played. They (Carnegie Mellon) are a team that will be there (NCAA tournament) come March and that’s our goal too.
“I feel this can be a confidence booster for us and we have to strive to get there. We have several things we need to work on and that’s what we will continue to do.”
Tournament MVP Lisa Murphy, a pre-season All America pick, led the Tartans with 20 points, all coming in the final three periods.
Wilmington head coach Jerry Scheve calls Murphy one of the best players in the country, He felt his squad contained her on the boards, as Murphy was limited to just six rebounds.
Murphy’s best effort came in the second period when she scored 10 of CM’s 17 points.
At the intermission, Wilmington held a two-point cushion, 37-35, in large part to a 24-17 edge in the second quarter.
Scheve said his squad did a good job against the Tartans constant switching defenses, but in the fourth quarter it was a different story.
Wilmington was a dismal two for 20 from the field in the final period. For the game, Wilmington made 21 of 67 attempts, for 31 percent. CM was 32 of 66 for 48 percent from the field.
Wilmington had two players on the All-Tournament team, junior Savannah Hooper and sophomore Mackenzie Campbell.
Hooper, a non-starter, came off the bench and provided instant offense for the Quakers with a trio of three-pointers in the second period when Wilmington grabbed the lead.
“I got into a rhythm out there and was working hard to get open. My teammates found me and the shots kept going in, ” said Hooper.
She finished with 16 points to pace the Quaker scoring effort.
“We had an awesome effort out there, but it just wasn’t enough,” Hooper said of the loss in the title game.
Campbell, who scored 13 points Saturday, also scored 13 in the opening game victory over Olivet on Friday night.
“They (the Tartans) are a quality team and we played them very tough. We are playing really well right now and just have to make our shots. The last few minutes it was a real struggle for us (offensively).”
Mary Moyer, who had a solid effort on Friday night with 10 points and 12 rebounds, was plagued by foul trouble, limiting her playing time on the floor. Moyer had just two points and nine rebounds Saturday.
Emily Harman was the third WC player to reach double figures, scoring 11 points and she pulled down five rebounds.
Wilmington was outrebounded by Carnegie Mellon, 44-40, with Jackie Hudepohl leading the Tartans effort on the boards with 12 rebounds. She was also chosen to the All-Tournament team.
In the consolation game, Transylvania defeated Olivet, 77-34.
The Quakers will not see game action again for a 10-day period, returning to the hardwood after the Thanksgiving holidays. Wilmington’s next scheduled action will be on the road against Earlham in Richmond, Ind. on Nov. 29.
CARNEGIE MELLON (63) (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Murphy 6-0-8-20, Novak 1-1-3-8, Mayberger 1-3-2-13, Hudepohl 3-0-0-6, Filiere 1-1-0-5, Higgins 1-1-1-6, Pereira 1-0-0-2, Jaeb 0-1-3. Team Totals: 14-7-14-63.
WILMINGTON (56) (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Harman 5-0-1-11, Moyer 0-0-2-2, Jefferson 1-1-0-5, Andracki 1-1-2-7, Campbell 6-0-1-13, Hooper 2-4-0-16, Tabor 0-0-2-2. Team Totals: 15-6-8-56.
Bill Liermann covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.