A layup from Wilmington University women's basketball freshman Ebonee Dixon with 13:46 remaining in regulation brought the Wildcats to within one, but Lincoln University (Pa.) went on a 15-1 run to carry them to a 76-66 victory on Thursday night at the WU Athletics Complex.
The Wildcats (0-3) fell in their season opener after going into the halftime break with a 39-39 tie. It was a 3:36 stretch in the middle of the second half in which the Lions (3-0) separated themselves from the Wildcats for the victory.
Jennifer Carr gave the Wildcats a 41-39 lead immediately after the halftime break after putting home an offensive rebound but the Lions came back and scored the next two buckers and five straight points to take a 44-41 lead and never look back.
Dixon made a move on the baseline with 14:11 to play to score a bucket to bring the Wildcats to within 44-43, but the Lions came right back and scored on a Zephrah Pam layup at the other end. Dixon again got in the paint for a second straight layup for the Wildcats, again bringing them to within a single point. But that would be the last bucket the Wildcats would receive in a span of 5:14 on the scoreboard.
The Lions would go on a 15-1 run, getting baskets from Pam, Lisa Saunders, and six foul shots from Teira Pendleton. Tashea Plummer ended the run with a layup with 8:32 showing on the scoreboard.
Taylor Carter cut the deficit to 10 with a three-pointer with 7:26 to play but the Wildcats missed a few key opportunities on the offensive end to cut any closer after earning big stops defensively over the next two minutes.
A pair of free throws from Katara Pressley brought the deficit to 64-55 with 4:48 to play, but the Lions held the Wildcats at bay, extending the lead back out to 12 points a couple more times. A Cari Callaway layup brought the Wildcats to within eight with 46 seconds to play, but it was too little too late for the home team.
Tenicia Spence paced the Wildcats with 21 points, shooting 7-of-18 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the foul line for the game. Callaway scored 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor. Dixon chipped in with nine points off the bench, shooting 3-for-5 from the floor and 3-for-6 from the foul line.
The match was won at the foul line on Thursday night, as the Lions went 30-for-36 from the charity stripe while the Wildcats shot 18-of-24.
Wilmington forced 23 turnovers with 12 steals, led by Spence's game high five thefts. Spence also led the team with four assists. Jennifer Carr and Taylor Carter led the rebounding effort for the Wildcats with five each, but the Lions out-rebounded the Wildcats, 60-37, for the game.
The Wildcats return to action on Saturday as they head to Mercy College for another nonconference contest. The opening tip is scheduled for 4 p.m. in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.