WILMINGTON, Ohio - The Binkley twins, Hannah and McKayla, combined for 51 points to lead the Wilmington College women's basketball team to convincing 98-82 Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) victory on Senior Night at Fred Raizk Arena on Friday evening. Coincidentally, the win marked the first triumph for the home team in four games between the two programs.
"Tonight our seniors had the role of getting us off on a good foot since they all started the game and did a good job," Interim Head Coach Janel Blankespoor said. "Beyond tonight, this group has been through ups and downs both personally and collectively, but have risen back up again and again."
The Fightin' Quakers jumped out to a 15-4 lead midway through the first quarters thanks in part to eight combined points from Hannah and McKayla Binkley as well as baskets from Cassidy Lovett and Brooke Stover. Wilmington held the double-digit advantage as an old-fashioned, three-point play from Kelis Jones looked to put WC up 24-9 after one quarter, but Brooke Beamer scored two of her 10 first-half points at the buzzer. That basket seemed to fuel the Student Princes as a 12-4 run to start the quarter forced Janel Blankespoor to call two timeouts. With the hosts leads down to just five (28-23), the Quakers forced two straight turnovers to kickstart a 12-0 run and push the lead back to a comfortable 17 points (40-27) midway through the second quarter.
Heidelberg (1-10) didn't let the game get away, however, as Beamer scored the final basket for a second consecutive quarter to pull the visitors within 11 (49-39) at halftime. Both teams traded baskets for most of the third quarter, but a 7-2 run to end the quarter, thanks to seven points from McKayla Binkley, made the scoreboard read 76-60 after 30 minutes. Wilmington's defense put the game away in the fourth quarter, not allowing a point for the first four minutes while scoring nine as a team.
Both teams shot over 40 percent from the field with Wilmington scoring 33 field goals and Heidelberg 26. The Quakers made 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) from distance and 26-of-33 (78.8 percent) from the free throw line compared to the Student Prince's 5-of-20 (25.0), with four of those coming the final couple of minutes, from distance and 25-of-35 (71.4 percent) from the charity stripe. The hosts were outrebounded 42-37, but dished out 23 assists and 16 steals led to 23 Heidelberg turnovers.
McKayla Binkley led all scorers with 32 points on 11-of-16 shooting to finish one point short of tying her career high. The Lynchburg-Clay alumna also grabbed seven rebounds, dished out six assists and tallied three steals. Hannah Binkley had 19 points and a career-high six steals to go along with five rebounds and three assists. A quintet of Quakers off the bench - Zahrya Bailey, Kelis Jones, Elise Carpenter, Haley Cook and Stover - scored 6-8 points.
Karlee Mills led the Student Princes with 21 points in defeat. Bailey Walter added a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
"I'm particularly proud of their attitude this season given it would have been easy to be disgruntled or upset with the COVID-19 pandemic," said Blankespoor. "Instead, their positive approach has trickled down to everyone on the team, which has made it a very enjoyable year for us. I'm thankful to have spent the last three years with this class and to have their leadership this year as their coach."
Wilmington (5-6) will conclude its 2020-21 regular season in Tiffin tomorrow (Saturday). Tipoff from Seiberling Gymnasium is slated for 6 p.m.