It wasn't exactly the play that was drawn up, but the outcome was picture perfect for the Wilmington College women's basketball team.
Senior Mary Moyer (Martinsville, OH/Clinton Massie) knocked down a three-pointer with 1.6 seconds remaining to lift the Fightin' Quakers to the 59-56 victory over NCAC preseason favorite Denison Tuesday in their season opener at Fred Raizk Arena in Hermann Court.
"It was a good win against a quality team," said Wilmington head coach Jerry Scheve. "They handled us easily in the opener last season, so it was nice to return the favor."
The triple from the wing helped erase the sting of a blown 15-point second-half lead. After hitting six three-pointers in the first half, it was Wilmington's first made trifecta in the second half.
While it was her shot at the end of the game that fans will remember vividly, Moyer's defense was more important to the outcome of the contest. Moyer, along with front court mates Emily Harman (Versailles, OH/Versailles) and A.J. Arling (Minster, OH/Minster), heledp hold All-American Jordan Holmes in check.
Holmes finished with just five points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Coming off a season in which she averaged 15.9 points, 17.8 rebounds and 6.2 blocks, the front court should get credit for its work in the paint.
"We did a great job on Holmes," said Scheve. "Mary, A.J. and Emily all got a chance at her. Offensively, she was not as big of a factor as she is capable of being."
Over the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third, Wilmington was able to open up the largest lead of the game. Four different players found the scoresheet during the 16-2 run that enabled the Fightin' Quakers to boost their one-point lead to 15 points.
However, the Big Red – a NCAA tournament qualifier last season – wouldn't go away
Denison nearly trimmed the deficit in half, trailing by just eight going into the final quarter. But, WC seemed to have enough in the tank on both ends of the court to keep its visitors at bay until an offensive rebound and put back with 25 seconds remaining pulled the two teams even for first time since six seconds into the second quarter.
The veteran team was unmoved by the DU comeback and found the composure to make a play even with things going unplanned around them.
"We have confident players, and we didn't have a good year last year, wins and losses, wise," said Scheve. "They all want to prove what type of players they are.
"The (game-winner) came on a broken play and Mary had the composure to get her feet set and make a huge shot."
Sophomore Mackenzie Campbell (Cincinnati, OH/Turpin) finished with 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists to lead Wilmington. Moyer added 12 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Sophomore De'Jah Locke (Cincinnati, OH/Mother of Mercy) dished out a team-high four assists. Harman added eight points and a team-high seven boards, while senior Ashley Andracki (Columbus, OH/Bishop Watterson) – who missed all of last season with an injury – returned to the court for eight points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Wilmington (1-0) hosts the Damon's/Hampton Inn Tip-Off Tournament Friday and Saturday. The Fightin' Quakers plays Olivet 6 p.m. Friday, followed by Carnegie Mellon and Transylvania, 8 p.m. Friday.