The Southern New Hampshire women's basketball team got off to a fast start on their way to defeating Wilmington, 81-67, to cap the season opening weekend on Saturday afternoon at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
The Penmen (2-0) hit their first shot attempt, a three-pointer just eight seconds into the contest, and jumped out to an 8-0 lead before the Wildcats (0-2) got on the board to round out the Northeast 10 Conference Challenge during the opening weekend.
Southern New Hampshire took its first double-digit lead of the game with 15:47 following a made jumper from Sara Ryan. Following a layup from Zameria Jones, the Penmen used a 16-0 run to grab to a 31-6 lead with 8:33 to play in the first half.
Four straight free throws for the Wildcats cut the deficit to 36-15 with 4:23 to play in the first half, but that would be as close as the Wildcats would get in the first half, even with Cari Callaway's layup with four seconds left, sending the Penmen into the half with a 45-21 lead.
A 9-3 spurt to start the second half gave the Penmen a 30-point advantage, its largest of the contest. Still trailing 58-28, the Wildcats closed the gap to within 20 for the first time with 7:14 remaining on a jumper from Jennifer Carr before a free throw from Carin Essex-Arline and a layup from Spence brought the Wildcats to within 17 with 2:16 remaining in regulation.
Freshman Ebonee Dixon had the Wildcats as close as 13 with a layup with 48 seconds to play, but it was too little too late for the Wildcats dropped its second game is as many days, 81-67, on Saturday.
Spence led the Wildcats with 24 points, hitting 7-of-9 from the foul line while shooting 7-of-26 from the floor in the game. Essex-Arline posted her first double-digit game of the year, posting 14 points while hitting 5-of-7 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the foul line in her second career contest.
Jennifer Carr led the Wildcats with eight rebounds while Essex-Arline finished with five boards in the game.
The Penmen were led by Erin Doherty's 17 points while Lorreta Rocha scored 14 and Sara Ryan tallied 13 points in the victory.
The Wildcats make their 2014-15 home debut on Thursday when they host Lincoln at the WU Athletics Complex in the season's home opener. Thursday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the WU Athletics Complex.