Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Zameria Jones against Molloy by Frank Stallworth.
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - - A strong start led the Wilmington University women's basketball to a 73-59 nonconference victory against Winston-Salem State at the Elizabeth City State Classic in the RL Vaughan Center on Saturday night.
The Wildcats (3-1) jumped out to a 19-11 lead after the first quarter, and then carried a 33-24 lead into the locker room at the halftime break. Another five-point advantage in the third quarter allowed the Wildcats cruise to the victory and continue their best start since the 2008-09 season.
Trailing 5-0 right out of the gates, the Wildcats used an 8-0 run of their own to jump in front. Two free throws from Katara Pressley and a layup from Tenicia Spence forced the Rams into a timeout as the Wildcats led 12-6. The Rams cut the deficit to 14-11 with 1:33 left but Emma Matthews hit a three-pointer and finished the quarter with a layup with four seconds left to push the Wildcats to a 19-11 lead.
The Rams started the second quarter with a 6-2 run but Spence started a 7-0 run for the Wildcats, capped by a three-pointer by Spence with 6:54 left in the half to put the Wildcats up 28-17. Another Matthews three put the Wildcats up 31-22, but a Pressley jumper ended the half at 33-24.
Jumpers from Lindsey Bradford, Pressley and Jocelyn Rodriguez to start the second half gave the Wildcats a 39-24 lead, and the Wildcats were able to keep the Rams at bay the rest of the way.
A 5-0 to start the fourth quarter gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game, 59-40, but the Rams came back to as few as eight points at 59-51 with 6:21 to play. But buckets from Zameria Jones, Jordan Hawkins, and Spence gave the Wildcats a 14-point cushion once more.
Jones led the Wildcats with 17 points in the game, 13 of which came in the second half as she shot 6-of-7 from the floor. Spence scored 13 of her 16 points in the first half, shooting 6-for-16 from the floor and 3-of-6 from deep in the game. Matthews was the final Wildcat in double digits, scoring 13 points including 3-of-5 from three-point territory.
Bradford, Pressley, Rodriguez, Matthews and Hawkins all led the Wildcats with three rebounds each while Rodriguez finished with a 6-to-0 assist to turnover ratio. Bradford added five blocks while Spence picked up three steals in the contest.
The Wildcats have a chance to go 2-0 on the weekend on Sunday, as they square off against host Elizabeth City State on Sunday in the final game of the ECSU Classic. The opening tip is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.