An 11-0 run to end the first half gave the Wilmington University women's basketball the boost it needed to get by Chestnut Hill, 75-67, to split the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference South Division season series on Thursday night in Sorgenti Arena.
The end at the end of the half turned a three-point deficit for the Wildcats (5-15, 3-9 CACC) into a 37-39 lead at the halftime break. Chestnut Hill (5-13, 3-8 CACC) closed to within four points in the final two minutes, but the Wildcats hung on down the stretch to snap a three-game losing streak.
The first half comeback started to take form on back-to-back three-pointers by Tenicia Spence, quickly turning a seven point deficit to a 27-26 deficit with 3:27 to play in the first half. A pair of free throws by Spence again cut the deficit to a single point before a fast break layup by Jennifer Carr gave the Wildcats the lead, 30-29.
Jasmine Lee went coast to coast on the Wildcats next possession for the fast break layup, putting in the sixth straight point for the Wildcats. Carr made it 34-29 with 1:15 to play with a pair of free throws before Katara Pressley made the second of her two from the charity stripe for the 35-29 lead. Carr capped the first half run off with two more foul shots with 20 seconds to play, giving the Wildcats the 37-29 lead going into the break.
The Griffins scored the first eight points of the second half to close the gap to three, but the Wildcats quickly responded with a 10-0 run of their own to expand the lead back out to 47-34 with 13:11 left in regulation.
Spence gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the night, 55-40, with 9:34 to play with a jumper, but the Griffins wouldn't roll over. The home team responded with a 14-2 run of its own to close the game to 57-54 with 6:37 showing on the scoreboard. Taylor Carter calmed things down for the Wildcats, putting in a layup and knocking down the ensuring free throw for an old fashioned three-point play.
A Spence jumper brought the Wildcats lead back out to double digits at 67-57 with 3:42 left in regulation and the Wildcats were able to hit enough free throws down the stretch to hold on for the eight-point victory.
The two first half three-points by Spence to spark the run were the only two the Wildcats hit all night, as they went 2-for-5 from beyond the arc. Wilmington shot 46.3 percent from the field while holding Chestnut Hill to 34.8 percent from the floor for the game. The Wildcats also held the advantage at the foul line, going 23-for-29 from the line while the Griffins shot 16-of-19.
Spence led four Wildcats in double figures with 17 points, shooting 6-of-11 from the field including hitting both of her three-pointers. Zameria Jones scored 15 points, hitting 7-of-8 from the foul line. Lee came off the bench to score 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting while Cari Callaway added 10 points off the bench on 5-of-7 shooting.
Pressley led the Wildcats with seven rebounds while Carr added six. Carr also scored eight points and grabbed a team high four steals.
Wilmington grabbed 31 defensive rebounds and got the ball up the court quickly, resulting in a 20-2 advantage in fast break points for the contest. Chestnut hill used 20 Wilmington turnovers to score 23 points while the Wildcats' bench outscored the Griffins' bench, 22-4.
The Wildcats remain on the road for two more contests, as they head to Concordia on Saturday for another CACC battle. The women start the doubleheader in Bronxville, N.Y., with a 1 p.m. tip.