The Wheeling Jesuit women's basketball team opened the 2012-13 season with an exhibition game against NCAA Division I opponent, Ohio University Bobcats. The Cardinals battled to the final buzzer, forcing overtime, at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio.
WJU trailed by two points, 66-64, with 13-seconds remaining. After a Wheeling Jesuit timeout, WJU's Emily Robinson just missed the mark from deep, but freshman Jaila Bryant was there for the put-back to force the overtime period. Again, the two teams battled back-and-forth, until the Bobcats squeaked out a 76-74 victory. Jesuit had an opportunity to steal the game at 74-74, and missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
"It was a great start to a long season," remarked Head Coach Debbie Buff. "We played very intense, the defensive pressure was good and the offense executed very well, especially in the second half. We were very focused and stuck to the game plan which led to the tight finish."
Four Cardinals registered double-digit scoring performances as Robinson led the way with 17 points. The sophomore captain from Circleville, Ohio was on fire from deep, connecting with five 3-pointers and shooting 50-percent from beyond the arc. Sophomore Kelsey Pacholke followed with 16 points and pulled down five rebounds, while freshmen Breanna Butler and Jaila Bryant recorded 14 points apiece. Butler was 4-for-11 from downtown and pulled down a team-high six boards, while Bryant went 6-for-9 from the field and grabbed four rebounds.
Rounding out the Cardinals' scoring were Taneka Lewis (6), Lucy DeFruscio (3), Taylor Lubinsky (2) and Jamie Sobczak (2).
Jesuit held a slight 41-40 edge on the glass, and held the Bobcats 36.8 percent shooting from the floor. Ohio made 50 percent of their shots from deep (6-12) and was 20-of-26 from the foul line. Wheeling Jesuit shot a blistering 46.8 percent from the field (29-62) which included a 10-for-24, 41.7 percent effort from beyond the arc.
Mariah Byard led the Bobcats with 17 points, while Tina Fisher and Alex'ie Baldwin followed with 14 and 11, respectively.
Wheeling Jesuit will open regular season play at the Alma Grace McDonough Center on Tuesday, Nov. 13 against Slippery Rock University. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
"We played with a lot of energy against an extremely athletic team (Ohio), and this is something we can build on for the future," said Buff. "I am extremely proud of our team's performance."