With a balanced scoring effort Saturday afternoon, the Wilmington College women’s basketball team maintained its hold of second place in the Ohio Athletic Conference with an 80-60 win over John Carroll University at Fred Raizk Arena.
With the victory, Wilmington improves to 10-5 overall, 6-2 in the OAC, while the Blue Streaks fall to 4-11 on the season and a 2-6 record in conference play.
The victory also was significant for Wilmington as it snapped a string of six consecutive regular season losses to John Carroll. In the OAC post-season tournament, Wilmington defeated JCU 67-57 in February.
The first half was a precision-like effort for coach Jerry Scheve’s squad as they excelled in all facets of the game. Wilmington built a 50-27 halftime advantage.
“I felt our effort in the first half was as good as any time we have played this season. It was the best ball movement of the season,” Scheve said. “We were making the extra pass and we shot the ball well and dominated the rebounding battle (24-9). Our offensive play was very good in all respects.
“We played 10 people (in the first half) they all scored and no player took more than five shots. That’s good balance and we had 13 assists and only seven turnovers. You can’t ask for better production than that. Plus we had the big advantage on the boards (24-9). It was good team basketball.”
John Carroll claimed the third period battle, 16-11, and cut the Wilmington lead to 18 points, 61-43, after three. Although the Blue Streaks put a dent in the Wilmington advantage, they could get no closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
In all 11 players reached the scoring column, including four in double figures. Non-starter Savannah Hooper paced the WC attack with 15 points, while another non-starter, Ja’Cole Tabor, added 12, including 10 in the second period. Mary Moyer 11 points and 13 rebounds while Mackenzie Campbell scored 10 points.
“Savannah hit some big threes for us when they (John Carroll) started to make their comeback. I felt that Samantha (Murphy) had a couple of big threes during that second quarter run,” Scheve said. “We got a lot of production from that position today and we can really be a good three-point shooting team and that helps make us a very solid basketball team.”
On this day, it was evident the bench play of Scheve’s squad was a pivotal difference, outscoring John Carroll 39-16. Tabor joined Murphy and Hooper as key elements off the bench for WC.
“Once again, Ja’Cole was a real spark for us today,” said Scheve. “She made things happen (scoring 10 in the period) and gave our team a good feeling about the way we were playing. She made some steals and had a break-away layup and some key assists.
Wilmington posted one of its better performances in a game at the free throw line, connecting on 15 of 19.
“We’re getting much better at the line,” Scheve said. “I know that bad free throw shooting has cost us a couple of possible wins this season. We need to maintain this type of efficiency throughout the rest of the season.”
On defense, Scheve was pleased with the effort against OAC scoring leader Katlyn Spahar, who was held scoreless in the first quarter and had just 16 for the game. She averages more than 20 points per game.
Wilmington has a pair of road games in Ohio Athletic Conference action this week, going to Westerville to face Otterbein 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and to Heidelberg 3 p.m. Saturday.
January 14, 2017
@Fred Raizk Arena
Wilmington 80 John Carroll 60
(60) JOHN CARROLL (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Graham 3-0-0-6, Sprecher 2-1-0-5, Steiner 3-2-0-8, Spahar 4-0-8-12, Pryor 3-1-2-9, Spear 4-1-0-9, Adelman 0-0-2-2, Rogers 2-0-1-5. TOTALS 21-5-13-60
(80) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Harman 2-0-5-9, Moyer 3-1-4-11, Jefferson 3-1-2-9,Andracki 1-0-0-2, Campbell 5-0-0-10, Murphy 2-2-0-6, Hooper 5-3-2-15, Ritz 1-0-0-2, Smith 1-0-0-2, Tabor 5-0-2-12, Ahrling 1-0-0-2, Groseclose 0-0-0-0, TOTALS 29-7-15-8
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet