Strong finish lifts Lady Quakers over John Carroll
Topp scores 18 in 60-54 tourney win
February 20, 2012
LeAnn Topp drives for 2 of her game-high 18 points in Wilmington's OAC Tournament win over John Carroll. (John Swartzel photo)
Wilmington College scored the game’s final seven points to rally past John Carroll, 60-54, in an Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament first-round game at Fred Raizk Arena Monday night.
The No. 6 seed Lady Quakers will take a 13-13 record into Tuesday’s quarterfinal game at No. 3 Otterbein. The seventh-seed Blue Streaks’ season ends at 9-16.
“We won, and I am happy. I think John Carroll has the largest group of good young players in the league,” Wilmington head coach Jerry Scheve said. “They are going to be tough in the future. We were fortunate to do enough things well to get the win tonight.”
While John Carroll’s youth movement was making noise, Wilmington’s junior captain was having a big night. LeAnn Topp (New Bremen) hit 4-of-6 3-point attempts to score game-high 18 points.
“LeAnn is always going to out-work everybody on the floor — that’s a given with her. She is a good shooter when she takes good shots, and tonight they were good shots,” Scheve said.
The game was tight from the opening tip. John Carroll led most of the first half, including by a 20-15 margin with 6:07 to play. Wilmington, though pounded the ball inside on four consecutive possessions to take a 23-21 lead at 2:40. At the break, Wilmington led, 27-26.
Chelsea Meckstroth (North Bend/Mercy) scored off one of her game-high five offensive rebounds to open the second half and start a 7-0 surge. When Topp buried a 3-pointer at 18:27, Wilmington’s lead was 34-27.
Wilmington pushed its lead to eight points on two occasions, but could not create a bigger gap.
John Carroll got 3-pointers from Missy Spahar and Emily Day as part of a 10-2 run that gave the Blue Streaks a 42-40 lead with 12:51 to play.
Topp had the answer with five straight points, and Brianna Peters (Alexandria, Ky./Campbell County) connected on a pair of free throws to give Wilmington a 53-51 lead with 5:12 to play.
As was the case when the Lady Quakers and Blue Streaks split their regular-season series with 3-point games, nobody could run away and hide Monday.
John Carroll scored five unanswered points to go up, 54-53, at 2:52, but Wilmington scored seven straight points from the free throw line while the Streaks were unable to score again.
The Lady Quakers were 11 of 12 from the free throw line in the second half and 14 of 16 (92 percent) for the game.
“For a team that doesn’t shoot very well from the field; we have shot awfully well from the free throw line. That’s part of the mystery why we don’t shoot the ball better. Maybe we will unravel that mystery eventually,” Scheve said.
Peters and Bethany Ahrens (Versailles) scored eight points apiece while Shelby Kies (Maineville/Kings) and Bria Eslick (Cleveland Heights/Lutheran East) added six points each.
Wilmington will look to avoid its third loss of the season to Otterbein when it travels to Westerville Tuesday.
“Otterbein has the best guard combination in the league in Shea McCoy and Kristi Kotterman,” Scheve said. “Their athleticism and ability to get the ball to the basket is hard to match up with. We will need to be at our best.”