WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Wilmington College women's basketball team overcame a slow first half to defeat Muskingum University 72-57 in an opening-round game of the 2021 Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament at Fred Raizk Arena on Monday evening.
The win puts the Fightin' Quakers (7-6) in a quarterfinal round contest at top-seeded John Carroll University tomorrow (Tuesday) and ends the Fighting Muskies' season at 1-10.
Wilmington's beginning to the game was forgettable as it turned the ball over four times and missed three shots forcing Interim Head Coach Janel Blankespoor to call timeout trailing 6-2 just over three minutes into the game. The turnovers, alongside missed free throws, continued, however, as the Muskies' lead grew to as many as 11 points (18-7). An Ellen Nilback layup and a Hannah Binkley free throw ended the quarter.
Muskingum led the entire second quarter, but couldn't stretch it double digits against. The visitors went up 21-12, but a three-pointer from Hannah Binkley kept the game within reach. McKayla Binkley, the reigning OAC Women's Basketball Player of the Week, hit two free throws to end the half with the hosts down 30-24.
The third quarter was the difference in the contest as Wilmington scored more points (29) than it did the entire first half while holding the Muskies to 14 points. In the period, the Quakers made 9-of-17 from the field and converted 10-of-12 from the free throw line.
Trailing 53-44 after three, Muskingum opened the quarter with a Tanner Wirth triple to pull within six, but a quick 6-0 spurt from Wilmington from Musky Head Coach Erin Eaton to call a timeout. The visitors answered with two baskets, but the hosts put the game away a couple of minutes later. Midway through the quarter, the Quakers grabbed three offensive rebounds on a single possession that culminated with a McKayla Binkley basket. That possession kickstarted a 9-0 run to put Wilmington up 70-51.
Neither team has a particular good shooting night as both squads failed to shoot over 40 percent from the field and over 25 percent from distance. Wilmington, which held a 53-39 rebounding advantage, made 19-of-28 (67.9 percent) from the free throw line compared to just 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) for Muskingum.
Hannah Binkley led all scorers with 18 points while McKayla Binkley tallied a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Wirth and Casey Smith both scored in double figures for the Muskies in defeat.
Wilmington's matchup with John Carroll is slated to begin at 6 p.m.