DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. - - Down 12 at the halftime break, the Wilmington University women's basketball team's quest for their first win fell just short, as Mercy pulled out an 83-79 victory on its home court on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats (0-5) fought all the way back to eventually tie the contest with a Kasha Andrews three-pointer, 79-79, but Mercy was able to draw a foul and calmly hit a pair of free throws with 25 seconds left. The Wildcats were unable to answer out of a timeout, resulting in a turnover and another pair from the foul line for the Mavericks for the four-point win.
Kiara Eubanks gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game, 13-12, in the first quarter, before Jadyn Whitsitt put the away team up 15-14 with a pair from the line before Mercy took control of the first half. They finished the first quarter on an 8-0 run to lead 22-15.
The run continued into the second quarter with a free throw before Tiffany Jackson snapped the streak with a layup, 23-17, with 9:37 to play in the second. Kasha Andrews hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 32-29, but a quick 9-2 Maverick spurt opened up their first 10-point lead of the game, 41-31. The Mavericks then scored four of the final five points of the half to go into the lockerroom leading 47-35.
The Wildcats came out with fire in their game in the third quarter, opening the half on a 12-2 run to get within 49-47 with 5:42 to play. The run subsided though, as they could only get to within two points in the quarter. A 9-2 Mercy run opened the lead back up to 63-54, but Mikala Casimir ended the third quarter with a layup, taking the Wildcats into the fourth only down 63-56.
Wilmington found itself down eight in the quarter, but two layups and a free throw had the Wildcats to within 70-67. Jadyn Whitsitt hit a three to get back to 72-70 before the Mavericks pulled it back out to 76-70 with 3:04 to play.
Still down four, Tiffany Jackson laid one home and then Kasha Andrews answered a Mercy free throw with a three-pointer to tie the game, 79-79 with 36 seconds left. But the comeback train ran out of steam on the Wildcats down the stretch.
Tiffany Jackson ended with a double-double for the Wildcats, scoring 21 points while adding 12 rebounds. Jadyn Whitsitt led all scorers with 25 points, shooting 7-of-11 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the foul line. She also added eight rebounds in the game. Kasha Andrews finished with 13 points.
The Wildcats shot 44.6 percent from the floor and out rebounded the Mavericks, 45-36, but only shot 13-of-24 form the foul line in the loss.
The Wildcats stay in the ECC but return home for their next contest, as they host Daemen in a nonconference contest at the WU Athletics Complex on Saturday. The opening tip is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.