The Wilmington College women's basketball team shot just 10 percent in the fourth quarter, and the Fightin' Quakers' attempt at an upset of No. 18 Carnegie Mellon fell short, 63-56, Saturday in the championship game of the 2016 Damon's/Hampton Inn Tip-Off Tournament.
Carnegie Mellon scored seven straight points in the opening portion of the final period to take a three-point lead with seven minutes remaining. After Wilmington brought it to one on the next possession, both team featured a scoring drought. The teams combined to miss 12 straight shots over the next three-plus minutes.
"They were switching defenses on us all game long, and it didn't seem to bother us," said Wilmington head coach Jerry Scheve. "But they went to a 2-3 zone with about seven minutes to go, and it was a combination of poor shot selection and fatigue. We didn't make the good shot we did have. That team has way more experience playing for a championship than we are. We are not in this for moral victories, but that was a great learning experience for us. We are going to use it to get better."
Wilmington went more than seven minutes in the fourth quarter between baskets, but after junior Savannah Hooper (Leesburg, OH/Wilmington) drilled a three-pointer with 34 seconds remaining – the Fightin' Quakers trailed by just two.
The Tartans staved off the upset bid by going 6-for-8 from the free throw line down the stretch.
"I don't think we had a defensive lapse the entire game," said Scheve. "What I have liked about our team is the effort and attention to detail to what we want to do. If we continue to do that, we can accomplish our goals."
Trailing by eight early in the second quarter, the Fightin' Quakers were in danger of losing touch with their nationally ranked opponent. But a 16-4 run keyed by Hooper ignited the crowd and the team. Hooper hit three shots from beyond the arc, including back-to-back triples that led to a timeout, in the spurt.
Wilmington kept its visitors at bay for the most part, leading for 17 of the next 18 minutes. However, the battle-tested Tartans clamped down in the fourth quarter and escaped with the victory.
Junior Mackenzie Campbell (Cincinnati, OH/Turpin), who was named to the All-Tournament team, finished with 13 points, four steals, three rebounds and an assist. While Campbell's offensive numbers have been good, it's was her defense that was pivotal.
"She shot the ball real well, but more importantly she did a great defensive job on a great player; we pretty much took her out of the game," said Scheve. "Their two players are as good as any pair in the country, and we didn't allow (Jackie) Hudepohl to get going."
Hooper tallied a career-high 16 points with four rebounds to lead Wilmington. She was also named to the All-Tournament team. Junior Emily Harman (Versailles, OH/Versailles) tied her career-highs with 11 points and five rebounds. Senior Mary Moyer (Martinsville, OH/Clinton Massie) pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
Wilmington (2-1) is off for 10 days before returning to the hardwood, playing Earlham 5:30 p.m. November 29.
Jazmin Hildebrand (Olivet), Rachel Cox (Transylvania), Savannah Hooper (Wilmington), Mackenzie Campbell (Wilmington), Jackie Hudepohl (Carnegie Mellon), Lisa Murphy (Carnegie Mellon, MVP)