ADA – The Wilmington College women's basketball team picked the wrong time to go ice cold from the field as the Fightin' Quakers shot 20 percent from the field in the first half, and fell to Ohio Northern 70-55 Saturday in the championship game of the Ohio Athletic Conference tournament at the ONU Sports Center.
Wilmington, which played for the OAC title for the first time since 2007-08 season, finished the season 18-10. The Fightin' Quakers are now 4-3 all-time in the OAC championship games. The 18 wins were the most since the 2007-08 season, when the Fightin' Quakers managed 19 victories.
It marked the final career games for seniors Ashley Andracki (Columbus, OH/Bishop Watterson), Brittaney Jefferson (Dayton, OH/Chaminade Julienne), Mary Moyer (Martinsville, OH/Clinton-Massie) and Ja'Cole Tabor (Dayton, OH/Chaminade Julienne).
"I never had a better group of seniors," said Scheve. "All four of them are - as young adults – fully equipped to go out in the real world and be successful in whatever field they choose to pursue. They were a lot of fun to be around. We never had an issue with any of them and I think with their leadership, this team was a team the entire year. In addition, they were all pretty good basketball players that will be tough to replace.
"They brought us back from a season with 11 wins with the same players to fall one game short of the NCAA Tournament; that is hard to do," Scheve continued. "They felt we could do it from day one, and they put everything into it all season long."
With Wilmington making a mini run in the third quarter, a crucial seven-point possession doubled the ONU lead. A dead ball technical was called on an ONU three-pointer. The Polar Bears made both free throws and then ONU converted on the subsequent possession; and now WC is facing an uphill battle down 15. The deficit grew to as much as 17.
However, the Fightin' Quakers were not going down without a fight.
Jefferson and Tabor combined for 13 of the team's 16 points during a 16-2 run that cut their deficit to four with 2:55 remaining.
"There wasn't any change in what we were doing; it was a change in our attitude," said Scheve. "We have some very competitive girls that don't like to lose. They decided to quit worrying about making mistakes, and give everything they had and that it what they did. It just wasn't quite enough today.
"Second half, we played how we wanted to play; no fear of losing," Scheve continued. "We went out there to win the game, and we came pretty close."
But the Polar Bears responded with a swiftly by scoring eight straight effectively ending the comeback attempt.
Ohio Northern initially seized control of the game with a dominating second period. Wilmington went more than seven minutes without a basketball, allowing a 17-4 ONU run. During the spurt, WC managed just four free throws and trailed by 13 at the break.
Sophomore Mackenzie Campbell (Cincinnati, OH/Turpin) finished with a game-high 18 points with seven rebounds and two assists. Jefferson added 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Tabor added 10 pints and two boards.