TIFFIN — After missing her career high by a point on Friday, senior McKayla Binkley made amends Saturday night against Heidelberg.
The Lynchburg-Clay High School graduate notched a career-high 34 points to help the Wilmington College women’s basketball team hang on and defeat Heidelberg 64-62 in the regular season finale for both teams.
Right from the start, this game was much different than the high-scoring affair at Fred Raizk Arena the night before. The Fightin’ Quakers’ defense held the Student Princes to just four points in the first five minutes, but the hosts roared back to knot the contest 13-13 after one quarter.
Wilmington looked too jump out to a double-digit lead midway through the second quarter on a steal and layup from Kennedy Lewis making the score 25-17 and a McKayla Binkley layup at the buzzer put the visitors up 30-22 at the break.
Wilmington, which had not swept an opponent on the season coming into the weekend, continued to play well defensively as it doubled up Heidelberg 18-9 over the first seven minutes of the third quarter to open up a 48-31 advantage. That 17-point lead would hold through three quarters, but the Student Princes, who hadn’t won at home on the season, looked to change that in the fourth quarter.
It was Heidelberg’s turn to play strong defense as it allowed just six points in the first eight minutes. During that time, the duo of Brooke Beamer and Bailey Walter led a charge of 23 points capped by a Beamer layup to tie the game 58-58 with two minutes to go. Lewis made a single free throw, but another Beamer jumper gave the Student Princes 60-59 lead, their first since scoring the first basket of the game.
A McKayla Binkley layup followed by a Zahrya Bailey steal and free throw put WC back up 62-60, but Beamer, who ended the night one point shy of 1,000 for her career, tied the contest once again. A Quaker turnover gave the Student Princes a chance to go ahead, but Beamer’s shot was off target this time, and Bailey corralled the rebound with 11 seconds left.
Wilmington got a good look out of a timeout as McKayla Binkley scored what proved to be the game-winning basket with five seconds left. Heidelberg got off two shots in the final five seconds, but both were well off the mark.
Both teams shot between 30-33 percent from the field, below 30 percent from distance and above 70 percent from the free throw line. Heidelberg won the rebounding battle 49-44 and Wilmington countered with 13 steals and 22 forced turnovers.
McKayla Binkley led all scorers with her 34 points including 13 field goals, four of which were three-pointers. Lewis added six points and four steals while Haley Cook had five points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
Beamer led the way for Heidelberg with 27 points while Walter tallied a double-double with 15 points and 19 rebounds.
Wilmington finishes its regular season with a 6-6 overall record and in a tie for fifth place in the conference.