Bench Fuels Second Half Comeback in Women's Basketball Win Over Muskingum

Photo by John Swartzel
Photo by John Swartzel




WILMINGTON, Ohio - The Wilmington College women's basketball team overcame a 10-point deficit early in the third quarter to defeat Muskingum University 63-49 in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) action from Hermann Court on Wednesday evening.

The Fighting Muskies came out of the gate hot as the visitors led 19-9 after the first quarter and Kacie Leppl's three-pointer to open the second quarter gave Muskingum a 13-point advantage. Wilmington battled back to within seven points on three occasions, but could not get closer in the first half as Maddie Snider's layup at the buzzer sent the Quakers into the locker room trailing 30-23.

"We've really been struggling the last week, and really couldn't get anything going in the first half," Head Women's Basketball Coach Jerry Scheve said. "Muskingum had a lot to do with that."

Faith Teaford opened the third quarter with a layup to pull the hosts within five, but consecutive baskets from Alexandra Carson including a three-pointer pushed the Muskingum lead to double digits (35-25) at the 6:37 mark. A Mackenzie Campbell jumper that followed would be the only scoring in a 90-second stretch without a whistle, and after a Musky foul, both teams turned to the bench.

Emily Harman scored on the next possession, and after a stop, Hannah Binkley's triple got Wilmington within three (35-32). Muskingum went up five on the ensuing possession, but Morgan Ritz answered with a three-pointer to get the Quakers within two. Ritz then picked off a Musky pass and her layup in transition fell through despite a foul. With the made free throw, the Seymour, Indiana native tied her career high of nine points and gave Wilmington a 38-37 lead.

"Both teams were really winded and emptied their benches," said Scheve. Three minutes later when they [Muskingum] put their starters back in we were up one. That was by far the key part of the game."

Olivia Besancon's triple on the next possession put Muskingum ahead temporarily, but the Quakers answered with a 14-3 run that spanned the end of the third quarter and three-and-a-half minutes into the fourth quarter. Campbell's layup that capped the run gave Wilmington a nine-point lead (52-43) it would not relinquish.

Campbell and McKayla Binkley were the two Quakers to finish in double figures with 11 and 10 points respectively. Harman scored seven points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out four assists while Ritz scored nine points and grabbed three boards in seven minutes off the bench.

"We all know Morgan [Ritz] can shoot, and she hit shots tonight," said Scheve. "Emily [Harman] is an undersized post player that players her butt off all the time. She got a ton of tough rebounds for us tonight."

Alexandra Carson led all scorers with 17 points for Muskingum in defeat. Bescancon, the Muskies' other top scorer, was held to three points and a 1-of-15 night shooting thanks to Campbell's defensive effort.

"Mackenzie [Campbell]'s defensive is often overlooked," said Scheve. "She always gets the other team's best player. To hold one of the league's best players to one field goal is a testament to desire to excel."

Wilmington shot 45.8 percent (27-of-59) from the field while holding Muskingum to a mere 29.7 percent (19-of-64) shooting. The Quakers also won the rebounding battle 42-32.

Wilmington (8-6, 3-4 OAC) heads to John Carroll University for a 3 p.m. contest on Saturday.