Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Auryonah Nast against Concordia.
NYACK, N.Y. - - The Wilmington University women's basketball team has stayed in the thick of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference South Division playoff race with a 73-60 wire-to-wire victory at Nyack on Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats (12-12, 7-8 CACC) started the game with a 12-4 run and never looked back. Nyack (6-15, 4-10 CACC) closed the gap to as few as three-points in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats ended the game with another run, outscoring the Warriors 13-3 over the final 3:12 of the game.
The win keeps the Wildcats on pace with Goldey-Beacom and Chestnut Hill, as both the Lightning and Griffins are tied for the final playoff spot at 7-7 in the conference. The Wildcats head to Chestnut Hill this week for the second meeting this season.
On Saturday, the Wildcats' lead ballooned to as large as 14-points midway through the second quarter. Tenicia Spence started a 12-4 run with the team's first bucket of the second quarter. Ebonee Dixon followed suit with a jumper before Spence hit a three-pointer for the 27-16 lead. Dixon made it 29-18 with another jumper before Spence converted an old-fashioned three-point play, grabbing the largest lead of the game, 32-18, with 4:30 left before the half.
But the Warriors answered with an 8-0 run of their own before going into the halftime break trailing by only 35-28.
Nyack closed the gap even more in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 39-35 before the Wildcats regained momentum. Auryonah Nash started another 10-2 run for the visitors as they were able to take the lead back out to 49-37 with 3:08 left in the third.
The lead wasn't safe to start the fourth quarter either, as the Warriors continued to hang around and cut the deficit to as few as three-points on multiple occasions.
Holding onto a 60-57 lead, the Wildcats closed out the game on a 13-3 run, securing the cross-divisional contest.
Spence came off the bench to lead the Wildcats with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. She also hit the only two three-pointers of the afternoon for the Wildcats, going 2-for-3 overall. Nash scored a career high 14 points while also grabbing six rebounds and adding four steals. Dixon and Lindsay Bradford scored 13 points each, as Bradford went 7-of-9 from the foul line and added six rebounds.
The Wildcats shot 45.8 percent from the field while also going 17-of-26 from the foul line. The defense held the Warriors to a 26 percent shooting game from the field, including just 4-of-21 from beyond the three-point arc.
Wilmington heads to Chestnut Hill for a crucial CACC contest on Tuesday night, as the women start the doubleheader with a 6:00 p.m. tip-off.