The Wilmington College women’s basketball team went 8-of-10 from the free throw line in the final minute of the game to seal the 64-56 upset win over No. 13 Capital Wednesday in Ohio Athletic Conference action at Fred Raizk Arena in Hermann Court.
“We were beyond brilliant tonight,” said Wilmington head coach Jerry Scheve. “We got off to a good start, and we let them catch us right away. I thought what was different tonight from what we have seen in a few games, is we didn’t bow our heads. We believed in what we were doing and managed to get the lead back before halftime.
“In the second half, the effort and enthusiasm we played with carried us,” Scheve continued. “It’s the first time we have seen a zone defense in a little while, and we were able to shoot them out of it right away. We played with composure down the stretch.”
Over the last 13 minutes of the game, the Crusaders forced ties on four occasions, and Wilmington had an immediate answer to never surrender the lead down the stretch.
Junior Brittaney Jefferson (Dayton, OH/Chaminade Julienne) had a hand in three of the four answers. She assisted on a Mackenzie Campbell (Cincinnati, OH/Turpin) jumped with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, and gave WC the lead again with nine seconds remaining on a lay-up.
A three-pointer by junior Ellie Kivell (West Chester, OH/Lakota West), who made her first career start, snapped the third tie of the game with 8:43 remaining, and a three-pointer by Jefferson with 5:57 game the Fightin’ Quakers the lead for good.
Jefferson provided much needed breathing room with a three-point play on the next possession, and Wilmington was able to put the game away at the foul line.
While the offensive performance’s lead to a ton of attention, Scheve was quick to point to Wilmington’s post defense as a key reason for the victory.
“A person we have gotten great defensive effort from every year is Mary Moyer,” said Scheve. “She is constantly matched against the other team’s best post player. (Capital’s) Kristen Thompson is a heck of a player. The points she got, several didn’t come against Mary. Mary is a great shutdown defender for us.
“Since we moved Ja’Cole into the post, our post defense with her and Mary, has really been good,” Scheve continued. “We are undersized in there, and we haven’t really given them any help. But with great ball pressure, they both have done a great job inside.”
Juniors Mary Moyer (Martinsville, OH/Clinton Massie) and Ja’Cole Tabor (Dayton, OH/Chaminade Julienne) combined for 13 points and 16 rebounds, including a team-high nine by Moyer.
Jefferson scored at least 20 points for the second time this season, and reached double figures for the 14th time with a season-high 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting. She added four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Campbell added 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting, reaching double figures for the sixth straight game and the 11th time in 12 games. Kivell chipped in with 13 points and a career-high three steals.
Wilmington (7-11 overall, 4-7 OAC) travels to Heidelberg 3 p.m. Saturday in OAC action.