WILMINGTON – Kelly Noll’s 17 points in the fourth quarter and a swarming defensive effort sparked the Wilmington College women’s basketball team to a comeback victory over North Central College, 74-70, Saturday in the 2018 Fred Raizk Memorial Tournament at Hermann Court’s Raizk Arena on the WC campus.
The WC women outscored North Central College 34-15 in the fourth quarter to complete a 15-point comeback and defeat the Cardinals to move into the tournament title game, according to a release from the college.
Wilmington (2-1) hosts Hanover College in the tournament championship 3 p.m. Sunday. North Central and Centre will play in the consolation at 1 p.m. Hanover defeated Centre College 50-38 on Friday.
North Central (1-2) jumped on Wilmington early as the visitors poured in three triples to take a 17-5 lead six minutes into the game. The Quakers rallied within one, 26-25, on a three-point from Faith Teaford early in the second quarter. The Cardinals held the hosts to just six points over the final eight minutes of the first half and took a 41-31 lead into halftime.
Another Teaford three-pointer with 6:31 to play in the third got Wilmington within 43-36, but once again, North Central ended the quarter on a 12-4 run and led 55-40 after three quarters.
Then came the Wilmington comeback. WC head coach Jerry Scheve elected to employ full-court pressure that ended up forcing seven of North Central’s 11 turnovers in the final quarter.
A Hanna Binkley three-pointer cut the score to 57-45 at the 7:49 mark, and two free throws from Michelle Lee and a three from Kelly Noll got the Quakers within seven.
A North Central turnover turned into to Noll free throws at the 3:00 mark, but the Lyndsay Brennan answered with two free throws of her own. Noll and Vitkus three-pointers on consecutive possessions followed, but a three from Kennedy Lewis pulled Wilmington within 64-60 at the 2:01 mark. McKayla Binkley then stole the inbounds pass and found sister Hannah who was fouled.
Hannah Binkley made both free throws, but North Central went up 67-62 with 90 seconds left. Hannah Binkley converted 1-of-2 free throws on the ensuing possession and after a Cardinal turnover, Noll hit yet another triple that cut the visitor’s lead to 67-66 with 43 seconds to play in regulation.
Then came the play of the game. Lewis picked off the inbounds pass and hit a layup in transition putting Wilmington ahead 68-67. A missed three-pointer from Maya Walls on the next possession forced the Cardinals to foul. Savannah Hooper hit 1-of-2 free throws, but an offensive rebound from Noll led to two more free throws for the Quakers, putting the hosts on top 71-67.
The Cardinals did not bow out, however, as Alanna Newsome hit a long-distance jumper cutting the lead to one, but after two made free throws from Lewis, North Central elected to try for the quick layup. Allison Pearson’s attempt was missed and rebounded by Hannah Binkley, who made the first free throw to seal the comeback victory.
North Central finished with more made field goals (26-24) as well as shooting for a higher percentage than Wilmington (38.2-37.5). The Cardinals also made four more three-pointers (13-9), but the Quakers held a 17-5 edge in free throws made as well as a 50-36 rebounding edge.
Noll led all scorers with 17 points, all of which came in the fourth quarter, to go along with nine rebounds. Lewis added 14 points, four rebounds and four assists while Teaford turned in a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Hannah Binkley also finished in double figures in scoring with 11 points off the bench.