WILMINGTON, Ohio - McKayla Binkley scored a career-high 24 points on 11-of-19 shooting to lift the Wilmington College women's basketball team to a 66-59 win over the University of Mount Union in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) action on Friday evening.
Tonight was a tail of two halves," Head Women's Basketball Coach Jerry Scheve said. "We did not play well in the first half and played extremely well in the second half. Luckily for us, that was enough."
Wilmington hit 6-of-15 shots including two Kelly Noll triples to lead 15-11 after the first quarter, but couldn't get its offense going in the second quarter. Despite making just 3-of-13 in the period and committing five turnovers, the Quakers found themselves trailing by just four (29-25) at halftime.
"We didn't rebound the ball well enough or win any 50-50 balls in the first half," said Scheve. "That completely changed in the second half."
Wilmington, which has struggled in the third quarter this season, hit three-pointers on three of the first four possessions including two from Noll and one from Kennedy Lewis that put the hosts up 34-31. A pair of free throws from both Noll and Savannah Hooper followed by baskets from McKayla Binkley and Lewis forced a full timeout from Mount Union Head Coach Suzy Venet with 5:43 to play in the third quarter and her team trailing 42-31. Five consecutive points got the Purple Raiders within six, but the Quakers would hold a 48-41 lead after three quarters.
Mount Union would not get any closer the rest of the game. The Purple Raiders, who came into the game as the OAC's top scoring offense at 70.9 points per game, had just 50 points with 38 seconds to play.
A large portion of that was the due to the defensive effort of both Hooper and Mackenzie Campbell. Mount Union's top two scorers, Rachel Tinkey and Tori Rappach, who combined to score 47 points in the Purple Raiders' 76-66 win over the Quakers in December, were held to 26 points.
Binkley led Wilmington with her career-high 24 points on 11-of-19 shooting while Noll and Lewis both finished in double figures in scoring with 14 and 11 points respectively.
"McKayla [Binkley] had a great game at both ends of the court," said Scheve. "She's become a player we can go to when we really need a bucket."
Both teams shot 37 percent from the field and 30 percent or less from beyond the three-point arc. Mount Union made five more field goals and one more triple, but Wilmington converted 19-of-31 attempts (61.3 percent) from the free throw line compared to just 3-of-8 (27.5 percent) for the Purple Raiders.
The Quakers also won the rebounding battle 43-41 and committed a season-low 10 turnovers.
Wilmington (9-8, 4-6 OAC) hosts Ohio Northern University for a 7 p.m. game on Wednesday.