Wilmington comeback falls short

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RICHMOND, IN - A second-half comeback fell short Saturday as the Wilmington College women's basketball team fell to Earlham, 80-75, in their first road game of the season.

"We got off to very bad start, but we missed a ton of wide open layups," said Wilmington head coach Jerry Scheve. "They made six-of-nine on three-pointers; we didn't do a good job of guarding them. We made some defensive adjustments that seemed to work. We really pick up our defensive pressure and got momentum going our way. We made some crucial mistakes down the stretch and couldn't pull it out."

After trailing by 17 at half, Wilmington pulled to within two but couldn't ever gain the lead as they trailed for the entire 40 minutes. The Fightin' Quakers missed four layups and committed four turnovers in the first five minutes of the contest as EC scored 11 of the first 13 points.

Senior Haley Howard (Uhrichsville, OH/New Philadelphia) scored nine as the Fightin' Quakers opened the second half on a 14-3 run to cut its deficit to six points. The deficit hovered between six and 12 points for most of the second half. 

However, Wilmington had one last run in them. Senior Makenzie Wippel (Orient, OH/Westfall) was in the middle of a 14-4 spurt. She recorded back-to-back layups, followed by a three-point play from freshman Brittaney Jefferson (Dayton, OH/Chaminade Julienne), and then added another layup and WC trailed by just three with 2:37 left.

Earlham stemmed the momentum with two free throws, but Howard's three-point play had the WC deficit at two. Wilmington wouldn't get any closer.

The Fightin' Quakers forced a season-high 27 turnovers as eight different players, led by Jefferson's four, recorded steals. Wilmington - which played with senior Bethany Ahrens (Versailles, OH/Versailles) - was beaten by Earlham on the boards, 42-33.

Howard and Wippel scored 21 points each as WC put three scorers in double figures. Howard added five assists, three rebounds and two steals, and Wippel recorded five rebounds and two steals.

Freshman Hannah Haeseker (Germantown, OH/Valley View) tallied 10 points and three rebounds.

Wilmington (2-3) kicks off Ohio Athletic Conference action Wednesday by traveling to Muskingum.