LANCASTER, Pa. - - An explosive second half by sophomore Tenicia Spence allowed the Wilmington University women's basketball team to come back and defeat Lancaster Bible, 79-72, in its first game of the New Year on Monday night.
Spence scored 23 of her career high 36 points in the second half, as the sophomore continues to inch towards the single game scoring record held by former All-American Amelia Simmons. The 36 points is the second most points in a single game in the Wildcats' NCAA era, as Simmons once scored 37 points against Concordia in 2008.
After a slow start, by the sophomore's standards, that saw Spence shoot only 6-of-14 from the floor including 1-of-4 from the three point arc in the first half, she went 7-of-11 in the second half. The second half including 2-of-4 from the beyond the three-point arc, as well as hitting 7-of-10 from the foul line in the win.
Spence helped the Wildcats (4-8 overall) overcome a four point deficit at the half, as they needed to come back from down by as many as nine points in the opening 20 minutes. The Wildcats held the lead as late as 9:18 in the first half before the Chargers (5-3 overall) went on a 8-0 run on the strength of six free throws to grab a 23-16 lead with 7:07 left in the half.
Another 5-0 run pushed a four point lead to a 31-22 lead for Lancaster Bible with 3:02 left on the clock; the largest of the evening for the home team.
Taylor Carter started the late first half come back with a made jumper before Spence cut it to five with another bucket on the Wildcats' next possession. Back-to-back buckets by Spence cut the deficit to 36-32 with 31 second remaining before the Chargers added another pair of foul shots to head into the locker room with a four point advantage.
The Wildcats opened the second half with a 9-5 run to tie the game at 41. Another brief tie at 43 was the final time the Chargers would share the game with the Wildcats before a pair of foul shots by Spence with 11:50 to play gave the Wildcats the lead for good.
Now leading 49-48, the Wildcats used a 19-4 run to take their largest lead of the game at 67-53 with 5:58 remaining in regulation before cruising to the finish line.
Spence's 36 points came off the bench for the Wildcats, as she also added six steals on the defensive end. Junior Cari Callaway added 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting, hitting all three of her foul shots to be the only other Wildcat to finish in double figures.
Jenn Carr continued her outstanding performance on the glass on Monday night, grabbing a team high 11 rebounds, five of which came on the offensive end of the floor. Tashea Plummer came off the bench to score nine points and grab eight rebounds, tying Carr with five offensive rebounds.
The Chargers were led by Shanice Smith who shot 9-for-15 from the floor and ended with a double-double of 23 points and 16 rebounds. Katy Stover added 18 points while Aubrey Folger chipped in with 14 points for Lancaster Bible.
The Wildcats return to Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference action for the rest of the week, starting with hosting Philadelphia on Wednesday night. The CACC doubleheader begins with the women's game at 6 p.m. at the WU Athletics Complex.