Second-half rally comes up short; Lady Quakers fall to Otterbein
WC ousted from OAC Tournament, 76-65
February 21, 2012
Bria Eslick scored six points and pulled down six rebounds in Wilmington's OAC Tournament loss at Otterbein. (John Swartzel photo)
WESTERVILLE — Playing some of their best basketball of the season with their backs to the wall, the Wilmington College Lady Quakers lost, 71-64, at Otterbein in Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal action Tuesday night.
The No. 6 seed Lady Quakers’ season ends at 13-14 while the No. 3 Cardinals take a 20-6 record to the semifinals.
Wilmington shot just 23 percent from the field in the first half and found itself in a 33-21 hole at the break.
“We were very tentative and unconfident. We had trouble scoring points, but I was more upset with our defense. We were making mistakes and letting their shooters get shots that they shouldn’t,” Wilmington head coach Jerry Scheve said.
For Wilmington, the second half was a different story.
After falling behind, 52-35, midway through the half, the Lady Quakers methodically worked their way back into the game. When Bria Eslick (Cleveland Heights/Lutheran East) scored at 3:34, the Otterbein lead was cut to 59-50.
“We just played basketball in the second half. We did fundamental things — things you need to do to win basketball games. Our post players were posting up stronger and demanding the basketball, and our wings were in triple-threat position and became triple threats. We just played a sound fundamental second half, with confidence,” Scheve said.
LeAnn Topp (New Bremen) hit her third 3-pointer of the game on Wilmington’s next possession to cut the deficit to six.
Tabatha Piper pushed the Otterbein lead back into double figures with a 3-pointer and the Cardinals held off Wilmington down the stretch.
“We made a great run at them to get it to six, but they made a tough shot and we had some things not go our way. I’m proud of our effort to come back against a very good team,” Scheve said.
Shelby Kies (Maineville/Kings) led Wilmington with 13 points, three assists and three steals. Makenzie Wippel (Orient/Westfall) added 11 points while Brianna Peters (Alexandria, Ky./Campbell County) and Bethany Ahrens (Versailles) scored 10 points apiece. Topp contributed nine points and five boards, and Eslick scored six points and pulled down team-high six rebounds.
“It was a team effort in the second half. We had a lot of people step up and play good basketball,” Scheve said. “I told them that I didn’t have an end of the season speech for them because I don’t feel like tonight was really the end of anything. We have a spring season to play with our trip to China. We have everybody back next season except senior Bethany Kincer, who will be back as a student coach. There’s a lot to look forward to if we dedicate ourselves to getting better and not accepting what the results were this year,” Scheve said.