Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Auryonah Nash by Frank Stallworth.
NEWARK, Del. - - A back and forth fourth quarter swung in the favor of Elizabeth City State, 72-69, as the Wilmington University women's basketball team dropped its final nonconference contest of the year on Sunday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
The Wildcats (7-7) found themselves down by three points at the halftime break, but battled back to tie the game, 50-50, after three quarters of play. The fourth quarter saw the lead switch hands four times and had the game tied four times before the final outcome. The determining play proved to be the Vikings' (4-7) three-point play with 56 seconds left, giving the visitors the lead for good.
Trailing by eight points midway through the third quarter, the Wildcats began to climb their way back into the contest. A quick 6-0 run brought the Wildcats back to within 44-42 with 4:29 to play before a Zameria Jones three-pointer brought the home team to within a single point with 2:12 showing on the clock. Ebonee Dixon hit the first of two from the foul line to knot the score at 50, bringing the Wildcats all the way back.
A layup from Carin Essex-Arline gave the Wildcats their first lead since the middle of the second quarter with a bucket just 28 seconds into the fourth quarter. A Macy Robinson layup put the Wildcats up three points before the Vikings scored six straight to retake a 59-56 lead. Robinson connected on her fourth and final three-pointer of the afternoon to tie the game, 59-59, with 5:14 left in regulation.
The Vikings took a 65-61 lead with 2:08 to play, but Robinson countered with a layup, followed by a free throw from Jordan Hawkins to bring the Wildcats back to within one. Tenicia Spence then drove into the lane and laid one home with her left hand to tie the game, 66-66, with 1:15 left.
The full court press forced the Vikings into multiple turnovers, including one following Spence's game tying layup. But her ensuing layup off the steal was off the mark, and the Vikings answered. The rebound was followed by a long outlet pass to Imani Heggins who put in the layup while being fouled. She would hit the free throw for the three-point play with 56 seconds left, and the Vikings never relinquished the lead.
Hawkins had a chance to go to the foul line with to tie the game, but her layup opportunity while being fouled hung on the rim for a second before falling out with 44 seconds to play. Hawkins again had a chance to tie the game at the line with 35 seconds to play, but a lane violation wiped the point off the board.
Jocelyn Rodriguez had the final opportunity on an offensive rebound with eight seconds left, as she was fouled on the put back, but her shot attempted managed to slip out of the basket as well. The first of her two free throws was three-quarters of the way down before bouncing out, missing the chance to tie the game.
Robinson led the Wildcats with 20 points off the bench, shooting 4-of-9 from three-point territory. Jones scored 16 points off the bench while adding five rebounds, four assists, and four steals as well. Rodriguez only finished with one point, but added nine rebounds, four assists, and a steal.
The Wildcats round out their four-game home stand on Wednesday, as they return to Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference action against Bloomfield at the WU Athletics Complex. The women open the CACC doubleheader with a 6:00 p.m. tip.