Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Tenicia Spence by Frank Stallworth.
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pa. - - Trailing by as many as 22 points in the third quarter and facing a 14 points deficit heading into the fourth quarter, the Wilmington University women's basketball team rallied but narrowly fell short, 96-92, at Lincoln on Wednesday night.
It is the first loss of the season for the Wildcats (2-1) as the Lions (2-1) outscored the visitors, 11-7, down the final two minutes of the fourth quarter to take the contest.
The comeback started with six minutes left in the third quarter, as the Lions held their largest lead of the game, 58-36. Junior Zameria Jones started a 19-11 run to end the third quarter with 5:55 to play, sinking a layup while getting fouled.
Jones' layup started a 15-0 run over a three-minute span, cutting the deficit to 58-50 with 3:06 to play in the third quarter. Tenicia Spence sank a pair of free throws before Jones added a layup with 2:20 to play to bring the Wildcats to the closest they have been since the first half at 61-54. But the Lions ended the quarter on a 10-1 run of their own to head into the final frame lead 71-55.
A 6-0 run for the Wildcats brought the game to 71-61, lead by a layup and a pair from the free throw line by Ebonee Dixon. Spence hit back-to-back three-pointers while the Lions could only answer with a pair of field goals before Katara Pressley laid one home to bring the Wildcats to 78-71 with 6:32 to play.
Shanique Graves hit a pair from the foul line to cut the deficit to 79-75 with 5:51 showing on the scoreboard before the Wildcats made their final push starting at the 3:12 mark.
Pressley turned a Lion turnover into a layup with before a steal and another layup by Jocelyn Rodriguez had the Wildcats as close at 85-83 with 2:28 to play. Another turnover on the ensuing Lion possession allowed Jones to convert a layup to tie the game at 85-85 seconds later. But the Wildcats were unable to get over the hump, as they would only get as close as 91-89 the rest of the way.
A pair of Lions' free throw gave the home team the 87-85 lead before a jumper following an offensive rebound with 1:27 lead put the Lions up by four points. Auryonah Nash hit a jumper with 1:09 to play but the Lions answers just nine seconds later with a layup to regain a four-point lead.
Rodriguez then hit a pair from the foul line with 47 seconds left to cut the margin to 91-89, and the Wildcats had an opportunity to tie or take the lead as Pressley came up with a steal with 39 seconds left. But a turnover ended the threat for the Wildcats as the Lions hit their free throws down the stretch to capture the victory.
Spence finished with a game high 28 points, adding three assists and a steal. Jones came off the bench to score 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting while adding three rebounds and an assist. Macy Robinson hit a three-pointer and added 4-of-5 from the foul line to score 11 points while Pressley was the final Wildcat in double digits with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Graves led the Wildcats with nine rebounds off the bench.
The Wildcats will look to get back into the win column this weekend as they head to Elizabeth City, N.C., for a pair of nonconference games. The Wildcats will face Winston-Salem State on Saturday before playing host Elizabeth City State on Sunday.