PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - - Jefferson scored 32 points in the first quarter and accrued a lead too large to overcome as the Wilmington University women's basketball team fell short, 84-75, in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference South Division action at the Gallagher Center on Tuesday afternoon.
The Wildcats (4-7, 1-2 CACC) found themselves down 32-16 after the first quarter, but then outscored the Rams (11-1, 4-0 CACC) by seven the rest of the game. The Rams' lead grew too as large as 22 midway through the second quarter, making it too large for the Wildcats to mount a comeback.
The Rams scored the first eight points of the first quarter and gained their first double digit lead at 15-5 with 6:41 left. Out of a timeout, the Wildcats used buckets from Emma Matthews, Nyree Grant, and Jadyn Whitsitt to get within 15-11, but back-to-back Ram three-pointers put the home team back up by double figures, 21-11. A Matthews' three again had the Wildcats within 21-16, but that would be the final point the Wildcats would score in the quarter. The Rams scored the final 11 points to double up the Wildcats, 32-16, after the first quarter.
The Wildcats' Mikala Casimir scored the first bucket of the second quarter, but the Rams answered with the next eight points to take their largest lead of the game, 40-18, with 5:56 to play before the half. The Wildcats would rebound in the quarter, however, tying the Rams, 17-17, in the frame to head into the break trailing 49-33.
Wilmington started the second half under better conditions, eventually ourscoring the Rams, 23-16. A Whitsitt three-pointer brought the Wildcats to within 56-44 with 5:46 left in the third before a Matthews three-point finally got the deficit to under 10 points, 63-54, with 1:14 showing on the clock. A Lisa Eller jumper sent the Wildcats into the fourth quarter trailing just 65-56.
Macy Robinson started the fourth with a layup to get the deficit to seven before Whitsitt hit another three-pointer to bring the Wildcats to within 66-61. Whitsitt then converted an old fashioned three point play moments later to bring the Wildcats all the way back to within 68-64 with 6:27 left in regulation.
The Wildcats then got the deficit as few as three points a couple times, but that would be as close as they could get. Matthews hit a three for a 70-67 deficit before Robinson hit two from the foul line to get the game at 72-69. Whitsitt laid one home for a 74-71 Ram advantage with 3:41 showing on the clock. But the Rams would outscore the Wildcats, 12-4, the rest of the way, going 7-of-8 from the foul line to ice the game.
Four Wildcat starters finished in double figures, led by Matthews' team high 17 points. She added nine rebounds and six assists as well. Whitsitt collected a season high 10 rebounds for her first career double-double, scoring 16 points. Robinson added 16 points while Grant chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds.
The Wildcats outshot the Rams, 46 percent to 40 percent, but the Rams put 12 more shots up. The Rams used 17 Wildcat turnovers to put in 23 points while also getting 20 second chance points off 19 offensive rebounds.
The Wildcats head into the mandatory NCAA Division II Holiday Break and will return to game action on Saturday, December 30 when they host USciences in another CACC South Division battle. The CACC doubleheader will start with the women at 1:00 p.m. at the WU Athletics Complex.