NEWARK, Del. - - A fierce fourth quarter comeback fell just short for the Wilmington University women's basketball team as crosstown rival Goldey-Beacom took a 78-70 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference showdown at the WU Athletics Complex on Sunday afternoon.
The Wildcats (4-8, 2-3 CACC) outscored the Lightning (9-5, 5-1 CACC) by eight points in the fourth quarter, closing to as few as four points but couldn't get over the hump as the Lightning held on down the stretch. The Lightning opened the gap with a productive third quarter, outscoring the Wildcats, 26-18, to take a 62-46 lead into the final quarter of play.
The fourth quarter started with an 8-0 spurt for the Wildcats, as Emma Matthews hit a three-pointer to start the final 10-minute stanza. Jamiere Jeffries laid one home and Macy Robinson hit an ensuing three-pointer to force the Lightning into an early timeout, bringing the Wildcats to within 62-54 with 8:16 left.
Jasmine Lee converted a layup and Robinson came up with a steal and fastbreak layup on the next possession to get the Wildcats to within 65-58. Lee finished off the 6-0 run with another layup, getting the Wildcats to as few as 65-60 with 4:38 to play.
LaShyra Williams brought the Wildcats to their thinnest margin, 67-63, with 1:55 showing on the game clock by converting a tough layup while getting fouled and hitting the foul shot for the three-point play.
But the Lightning had an answer for each Wildcat punch, as the visitors extended the lead back out to 70-63 with 1:33 left. Ebonee Dixon put in a layup for a five-point deficit and Williams had another layup to bring the score back to within five once again, but there was only 21 seconds left. The Lightning hit all four of their foul shots down the stretch to secure the victory.
The Lightning were able to withstand the fourth quarter comeback by getting out to a 21-16 lead after the first quarter, and went into the halftime break with a 36-28 advantage. The 26-18 third quarter push was the difference in the game for the Lightning.
Williams secured her third double-double of the season with team highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds. She also dished out five assists, collected two blocks, and had one steal. Robinson ended with 13 points, hitting three three-pointers in the game. Dixon came off the bench to shoot 5-of-7 from the floor for 10 points while Karena Purnell added eight points and 10 rebounds off the bench as well.
The Wildcats held the advantage in the bulk of the statistical categories, including shooting (36.8% to 30.9%), three-point shooting (31.3% to 28.0%), points in the paint (36-22), but the Lightning hit 29 free throws as compared to the Wildcats' 15.
The Wildcats begin their NCAA Division II mandatory holiday break but return to action in 10 days on Wednesday, December 28. The Wildcats head to Kutztown for a 1:00 p.m. tip-off.