WASHINGTON, D.C. - - A big second half turned a Wilmington University women's basketball three-point halftime deficit into a 69-54 road victory over the District of Columbia on Saturday afternoon at the UDC Sports Complex.
The Wildcats (2-2) scored 23 point in the third quarter and 20 more in the fourth quarter to overcome as large as a 15-point second quarter deficit to the Firebirds (2-2). The Wildcats outscored the Firebirds, 45-25, in the second half.
The first quarter was a close-knit affair, as they largest lead was a 6-3 advantage for the firebirds. The teams went back-and-forth all quarter, with the Firebirds taking a slight advantage, 11-10, into the second quarter.
The Wildcats did not score in the second quarter until there was 5:19 left on the clock and the Firebird took full advantage. An old-fashioned three-point play sparked a 14-0 Firebird run, taking their largest lead of the game, 25-10, with 5:38.
Still down 15, 27-12, the Wildcats began to claw back. Emma Matthews started a 14-0 run of their own with a jumper. LaShyra Williams hit a jumper to cut the deficit to 27-23 before Precious Palmer sank another jumper to bring the visitors all the way back to within 27-26 with 44 seconds left in the half. UDC scored the final bucket of the half to carry a 29-26 lead into the break.
Still down four points, 39-35, with 4:54 left in the third quarter, the Wildcats closed out the stanza on a 14-4 run to take the game over. Matthews tied the game at 39 with a jumper before Williams gave the Wildcats the lead for good with two from the foul line. Jadyn Whitsitt came up with a steal and an easy layup for the 47-41 lead Nyree Grant closed out the scoring in the quarter with two more from the foul line, 49-43.
The Firebirds closed the gap to as few as five points with 6:05 left in the quarter, but the Wildcats rebounded with the next seven points to widen the gap back out to 64-51 with 3:41 to play. With the lead at 10, the Wildcats went 5-of-6 from the foul line for the rest of the game, keeping UDC off the scoreboard in the final 1:55 of the game to earn the victory, 69-54.
Williams had her best game of the early season, collecting 21 points and nine rebounds to lead the Wildcats. Macy Robinson earned the double-double with 12 points and a game high 13 rebounds while Whitsitt added 13 points and seven rebounds. Matthews grabbed 12 rebounds as well for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats out-rebounded the Firebirds, 50-31, including a 35-24 advantage on the defensive glass, holding UDC to only two second-chance points.
Wilmington has little time to bask in the victory, as they return home to face Bowie State on Monday evening. The tip-off against the Bulldogs is set for 6:00 p.m. at the WU Athletics Complex.