PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - - The Wilmington University women's basketball team fought all the way back to tie the game in the fourth quarter but ran out of gas late as Holy Family escaped with a 67-63 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference South Division victory inside the Campus Center Gym on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats (6-13, 3-8 CACC) fell behind early as the Tigers (7-12, 6-5 CACC0 jumped out to a large first half lead. An 18-8 lead after the first quarter turned into as large as a 25-10 advantage for the home team in the second quarter. But the Wildcats outscored the Tigers, 13-5, over the final 5:30 to claw to within 30-23 at the halftime break.
The Tigers stretched the lead back out to 11 points early in the third, but then the Wildcats mounted their comeback. Jadyn Whitsitt and Emma Matthews made buckets on back-to-back possessions to cut the deficit to 38-24, before Nyree Grant sank back-to-back layups on her own to bring the Wildcats to within 41-38 with 2:29 left in the half.
Wilmington continued to come at Holy Family, but the Tigers would bend but never break, as the closest the Wildcats could get in the quarter was 43-41. The Tigers answered with a layup of their own with less than a minute to play, but Grant hit a pair from the foul line to send the game into the fourth quarter with the Wildcats trailing by just 45-43. The Wildcats outscored the Tigers, 20-15, in the third quarter.
Whitsitt started the fourth quarter with an offensive rebound and putback layup, tying the game for the first time all night at 45-45. The Wildcats had two chances to take the lead on their next possession, but a Matthews' missed jumper and a Macy Robinson turnover resulted in a Tiger three-pointer at the other end. The Wildcats would never be able to get over the hump and take the lead away form Holy Family.
The Tigers continued their run and eventually led 53-45 after the Wildcats tied the game. Robinson hit a three-pointer to get to within three points, but the Tigers were always able to keep the visitors at an arms' length. Whitsitt converted a layup and Matthews hit one from the line to get to within 60-56 with 1:28 left but the Tigers went 7-of-8 from the charity stripe down the stretch to hold off the Wildcats, 67-63.
The Wildcats dominated in the paint, outscoring the Tigers, 36-20, in the lane, but hit on just 3-of-17 from beyond the three-point arc. The Tigers hit seven three-pointers while also going 14-of-16 from the foul line. The Wildcats went 10-of-17 from the free throw line.
Matthews paced the Wildcats with 19 points, going 2-of-5 from deep. She added three steals, two rebounds, and two assists. Grant collected her fifth double-double of the year with 16 points and 13 rebounds while Whitsitt contributed 14 points and nine rebounds in the loss. Robinson grabbed 10 rebounds while scoring six points.
The Wildcats will look to get back into the win column when they return to action and the WU Athletics Complex on Saturday against Felician. The opening tip is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.