NEWARK, Del. - - Looking to play spoiler for the second straight game, the Wilmington University women's basketball game couldn't hold onto a halftime lead, falling to cross-town rival Goldey-Beacom, 69-62, in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference contest at the WU Athletics Complex on Tuesday night.
Wilmington (7-18, 4-14 CACC) had as large as a 22-8 lead in the first half but the Lightning (11-13, 8-9 CACC) battled back to within three points at the halftime break and took the lead for good four minutes into the second half.
Prior to the game, the Wildcats' coaching staff, teammates, and the Wilmington University athletics department bid farewell to three seniors on the women's team playing in their final home game at the WU Athletics Complex. Seniors Lauren Brown, Katie Franklin, and Allison McDonald put on the green and white for the final time in front of their home crowd.
The Wildcats opened the game strong, scoring seven of the first nine points of the contest, and then used a 10-0 run in the middle of the half to take a commanding 22-8 lead with 8:23 to play in the first half. Tashea Plummer started the run with a jumper to put the Wildcats up 14-8, followed by a steal and a jumper from Tenicia Spence. Cary Callaway hit back-to-back jumpers before Jasmine Lee concluded the run with a layup, giving the Wildcats their largest lead of the game.
The Lightning quickly responded with a 9-0 run of their own, however, getting back into the ball game and cutting the deficit to 22-17 with 5:19 left in the first half. Goldey-Beacom cut into the Wildcat lead to as few as two points with 3:05 to play before Taylor Carter hit one of her three three-pointers of the game to give the Wildcats a 29-24 lead with 1:23 showing on the scoreboard.
Goldey-Beacom's Chelsea Grove set the Lightning into the locker room only trailing 29-26 on a pair of free throws to close out the scoring in the first half.
The Lightning scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 33-29 lead before the Wildcats made a run of their own. Callaway responded with a three-pointer, followed by another jumper for five straight points, giving the Wildcats the 34-33 lead with 16:32 remaining in regulation.
But a Lillian Chukwuese started a 7-0 run for the Lightning, putting the visitors ahead 40-34 with 15:10 to play in the game. It would be a lead Goldey-Beacom would not relinquish.
Callaway hit another jumper to close the gap to one point with 12:39 to play before a fast-break layup by Spence cut the deficit to 48-47 with 7:58 to play, but the Wildcats could never get over the hump. Goldey-Beacom extended the lead out to as many as 11 points down the stretch before settling on the seven point margin of victory.
Wilmington had three players in double digits, all with 11 points. Spence, Carter, and Callaway each finished with a team high 11 points, as Carter went 3-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc. Spence added seven rebounds and three steals while Callaway grabbed two boards and two steals. Jenn Carr scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds while Plummer scored eight points and grabbed a team high eight rebounds.
The game was won at the foul line, as many Wildcats battled foul trouble all night long. Goldey-Beacom shot 13-of-27 from the free-throw line, getting 13-of-21 combined from Chukwueze and Grover. The Wildcats went 4-of-5 from the charity stripe, as both Jocelyn Rodriguez and Jasmine Lee each went 2-for-2.
Wilmington closes out its 2013-14 season on the road on Saturday when the Wildcats head to North Division foe Caldwell. The women's game will be the night cap in the CACC doubleheader, with an approximate tip of 3 p.m.