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Smothering Defense Leads to Easy Points as Wilmington Women’s Basketball Downs Shaw, 73-55, in Thanksgiving Classic

Smothering Defense Leads to Easy Points as Wilmington Women’s Basketball Downs Shaw, 73-55, in Thanksgiving Classic

Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Macy Robinson, who collected five steals at Shaw on Friday. She also led the team with 24 points. File photo by Frank Stallworth.

ETTRICK, Va. - - A strong defensive performance led the Wilmington University women's basketball team to a 73-55 victory over Shaw to kick off the Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Virginia State University on Friday afternoon.

The Wildcats (2-3) pulled away in the fourth quarter, but led for the majority of the contest thanks in large part to 16 steals and forcing Shaw (1-4) into 24 turnovers in the contest. That allowed the Wildcats to get out on the run, outscoring the Bears, 18-0, on fast break points on Friday.

The Wildcats also held advantages in the paint, 48-14, and points off turnovers, 27-6, only committing seven turnovers themselves in the game.

Macy Robinson paced the Wildcats in the first two quarters, scoring seven points on 3-of-5 shooting in the first before adding nine more points on 3-of-4 shooting in the second quarter.

It was a 10-0 that enabled the Wildcats to take a 12-3 in the early going. Robinson gave the Wildcats a 21-16 lead with a three-pointer, but the Bears stuck around by hitting a three-pointer of their own to end the quarter, 21-19.

Another Robinson three-pointer put the Wildcats ahead, 32-24, midway through the second. Ebonee Dixon laid one in for the Wildcats final bucket of the quarter, putting the team ahead 36-28 heading into the locker room.

The Bears closed the gap to within three points at 46-43 late in the third quarter before Dixon and Jocelyn Rodriguez hit back-to-back shots before LaShyra Williams converted one of two from the foul line to regain a 51-43 lead.

Leading 53-47 early in the fourth, Williams sparked an 18-0 run to put the game away with a layup and a pair of free throws. Robinson scored six points during the run while Rodriguez, Emma Matthews, and Amani Graham also contributed during the spurt, putting the Wildcats ahead, 71-47, late in the game.

Robinson finished with a game-high 24 points, shooting 10-of-15 from the floor including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc in the first half. She also came down with eight rebounds and five steals in the win. Williams collected a double-double in the win, scoring 11 points but adding a team-high 12 rebounds.

Dixon was the final Wildcat to reach double figures, scoring 14 points while adding five rebounds. Rodriguez filled the boxscore with six points, seven rebounds, eight assists (only one turnover), and five steals.

The Wildcats take their two-game winning streak into Saturday when they face host Virginia State in the final game of the Thanksgiving Classic. VSU defeated Salem International, 66-35, in the late game on Friday. Saturday's tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.