It was pretty much two different games played over the course of 40 minutes as the Wilmington College women’s basketball team fell 69-53 to No. 13 Ohio Northern Wednesday in Ohio Athletic Conference action at Fred Raizk Arena in Hermann Court.
Wilmington trailed by just three points at the break in a 20-minute portion that featured five fouls called and two free throws attempted. The pace and defensive nature saw the teams combine to score 41 points.
“With a few exceptions, we have been a good defensive team all year,” said Wilmington head coach Jerry Scheve. “In the first half, we couldn’t get anything going offensively, but we stayed in the game with our defense. They turned it over, and didn’t shoot well, but I think we had a lot to do with that. For some reason, we couldn’t maintain that in the second half.”
After the teams came back from halftime, the game changed. The teams were called for 33 fouls, and combined to attempt 43 free throws.
Ohio Northern was a perfect 11-for-11 in the game-deciding third quarter. The Polar Bears outscored Wilmington, 27-12, and led by 18 heading into the final period.
Junior Ellie Kivell drilled a three-pointer early in the third period to pull Wilmington even. However, ONU responded by scoring the next eight points and extended it out to a 19-4 run to give itself some breathing room.
The Fightin’ Quakers had one last gasp as they went on a 15-6 spurt to get to within nine points with a shade under three minutes remaining.
“I was pleased with (our run),” said Scheve. “We got some steals off the press, we made some shots, and really got it to nine with time to make a run. They settled down a little. We had to foul and they made their free throws.”
However, once again, ONU answered by scoring 20 of the last 23 points.
Kivell finished with a season-high 16 points with two rebounds to lead the Fightin’ Quakers.
“She is a player that can make shots,” said Scheve. “She has struggled most of the year to shoot the way she can. Today, she shot it well, but what I liked most about her since moving into the starting lineup, has been her defense. She is doing a very good job defensively, both fundamentally and what we want to do team-wise.”
Freshman Mary Moyer added 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds, while freshman Mackenzie Campbell finished with 11 points and four rebounds.
Coming off back-to-back 22-point games, junior Brittaney Jefferson was held to seven points, but contributed with team highs in assists (four) and steals (five). Her five steals tied a career-high set nearly a year ago (Feb. 11, 2015).
Wilmington (7-13 overall, 4-9 OAC) travels to Marietta 3 p.m. Saturday in a pivotal OAC matchup.