PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - - For only the second time since the 2009-10 season, the Wilmington University women's basketball team won its season opener, defeating Franklin Pierce, 79-67, at the NE10/CACC Challenge hosted by Holy Family in the Campus Center Gym.
The Wildcats (1-0) won every quarter, outshooting the Ravens (0-1), 42.9 to 34.3 percent. The last time the Wildcats won the season opener was in the 2015-16 season, but only the second time in the previous nine seasons.
The Wildcats trailed 11-7 midway through the first quarter before rattling off eight straight for the 15-11 lead. Macy Robinson then put in and-one before Emma Matthews laid one home for the 20-12 advantage. The Ravens were able to close the gap with a 5-2 spurt of their own, but the Wildcats held the 22-17 lead after the first quarter.
A Robinson three-pointer gave the Wildcats their first double digit lead, 27-17, with 9:03 left in the second quarter. But that would be the last point for the Wildcats for a while, as the Ravens bounced back with a 12-0 run to take a 29-27 lead with 4:20 left in the half. The Wildcats answered with an 8-0 run to end the quarter, however, capped by an Ebonee Dixon layup with 11 seconds showing on the clock. The Wildcats went into the half with a 35-29 lead.
An 8-2 start to the third quarter put the Wildcats ahead, 43-31, before the lead ballooned to as large as 14 points with two free throws from Robinson with 4:30 left in the quarter. The Ravens finally got the deficit to within single digits with 2: 45 to play, as Sophia Holmes hit a three-pointer. That sparked a 7-2 mini-run to get to within 54-47, but that would be as close as the Ravens would get in the quarter as Dixon closed out the scoring with a layup, 58-49.
A pair of free throws from Matthews put the Wildcats back in front, 64-54, with 6:59 to play in regulation and the Wildcats would not see the lead dip back into single digits the rest of the way. Robinson iced the game with her third and final three-pointer of the game, 74-61, with 2:45 showing on the clock.
Robinson led all scorers with 24 points, securing a double-double with a team high 10 rebounds as well. She went 8-of-18 from the floor for the game, including 3-of-9 from deep. Matthews finished with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting against her former school while newcomer Precious Palmer chipped in 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting in her first game as a Wildcat.
The Wildcats continue play at the NE10/CACC Challenge tomorrow with D2SIDA East Region Preseason favorites Bentley. They were also voted seventh in the 2017-18 D2SIDA Preseason Media National Poll. Tip-off at the Campus Center Gym is set for 5:00 p.m.