Finding itself down at the end of both regulation and overtime, the Wilmington University women's basketball team battled back in both periods to overtake Elizabeth City State, 73-70, to open the Chick-Fil-A Classic hosted by Virginia State on Friday afternoon at Daniel Gymnasium.
The victory snapped a seven game losing streak for the Wildcats (1-5) dating back to the end of last season. Elizabeth City State (1-3) led by five points with 1:36 to play in regulation and by four points with 1:51 to play in the overtime period before the Wildcats came back.
The Vikings converted an old fashioned three-point play with 2:02 remaining in regulation to give them a 59-54 advantage. The Wildcats' Jasmine Lee started the comeback with a pair of free throws with 1:35 to play before earning a steal and a layup on the ensuing inbounds play to cut the deficit to 59-58 with 1:31 to play.
Jocelyn Rodriguez stole the ball on the Vikings next possession and Ebonee Dixon was fouled with a chance to tie and take the lead with a pair at the free throw line. The freshman missed the front end but hit the second foul shot to tie the game, 59-59, with 48 seconds to play. The Vikings missed a three-pointer with 29 seconds remaining before Patricia Miranda missed her three-pointer to give the Wildcats the win in regulation.
The Vikings jumped out to a four-point lead on three separate occasions in the overtime period, the last with 2:02 to play in the period. Dixon put home a layup with 1:50 remaining and again hit the second of two free throws to bring the Wildcats to within one, 68-67, with 1:32 to play. Lee laid one in on the Wildcats next possession to give the visitors the lead for the first time since 17:55 left in regulation.
Elizabeth City State came back with a layup of its own with 45 seconds remaining to give the Vikings a one-point lead 70-69. But the Wildcats scored on their next possession again, as Dixon converted a layup for the 71-70 lead with 32 seconds to play.
Jennifer Carr grabbed an important rebound with five seconds to play as the Vikings missed a go-ahead shot. Dixon then hit both of her shots from the charity stripe to force the Vikings into making a three-pointer at the buzzer, but their attempts was off the mark to give the Wildcats their first victory of the season.
The Wildcats sprinted out to a 10-point lead with 12:33 to play in the first half before going into the halftime break with a 24-21 lead. The Vikings came out and scored the first 11 points of the second half and then held a 10-point lead with 14:24 to play in the second half before the Wildcats started chipping away.
Lee led the Wildcats with a career best 26 points and nine rebounds off the bench, shooting 8-for-11 from the field. The sophomore also hit 10-of-11 from the foul line and picked up three steals. Dixon finished with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting off the bench while Tenicia Spence chipped in with 16 points and seven rebounds to round out the double digit scorers.
The Wildcats shot 46.6 percent from the floor (27-of-58) for the game while holding the Vikings to 37.3 percent from the floor. The Wildcats force the Vikings into 25 turnovers, earning 17 steals for the contest.
The Wildcats close out the Chick-Fil-A Classic on Saturday with a contest against host Virginia State starting at 3 p.m.