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Wilmington Women's Basketball 2019-20 Season in Review

The Wilmington College women's basketball team once again qualified for the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament in 2019-20. There, one of the nation's top scoring offenses pushed defending champions John Carroll University to the brink. This is the story of the 2019-20 Lady Quaker Basketball team.

The Quakers opened the season with two annual tournaments - the Damon's/Hampton Inn Tip-off Tournament and the Fred Raizk Memorial Classic on consecutive weekends in mid-November. The opening game against Miami University-Middletown, held on Nov. 15, was a runaway.

Photos of WC's season-opening win over Miami-Middletown.

The 111-56 victory was the Quakers' first time crossing the 100-point plateau since defeating Marietta College 103-102 in double overtime on Jan. 25, 2014. It wouldn't be the last time Wilmington would hit the century mark during the season.

Wilmington's opponent in the tip-off tournament title game was Denison University, a team that would go on to finish 19-9 and earn a runner-up finish in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament title game.

Neither team led by more than eight points, but the Big Red, led by 10 seniors, pulled away in the fourth quarter.

The following weekend, Wilmington wouldn't make the finals as Franklin College got hit from distance in the final five minutes and escaped Hermann Court with a 78-76 victory.

The Quakers rebounded, however, defeating Hiram College 84-76 thanks to 20-plus margin in rebounding. Michelle Lee led the way with 22 points.

Wilmington's next test came against other Quaker school, Earlham College, for a Quaker Bowl Rivalry game on Dec. 2, 2019.

The hosts led 20-13 after one quarter, but a 30-18 outburst in the second 10 minutes gave WC a comfortable halftime lead.

Wilmington kept its foot on the gas in the third, outscoring Earlham 21-13.

The Fightin' Quakers would go on to lead by as many as 26 points en route to a victory.

Wilmington shot a team-best 51.7 percent (32-of-62) from the floor along with 6-of-17 from the distance and 12-of-17 from the free throw line. Earlham was held to 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the field and 0-of-8 from beyond the three-point arc.

The Quakers continued that momentum into the beginning of OAC play at Heidelberg University. Similar to the season-opener, it was a runaway Wilmington victory.

Wilmington shot over 50 percent from the field and over 40 percent from beyond the three-point arc en route to the huge victory. McKayla Binkley, who went on to garner OAC Women's Basketball Player of the Week honors, scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

Sitting at 4-2 overall and fresh off a victory in the OAC opener, Wilmington welcomed Ohio Northern University, a team the Quakers hadn't beaten in several years, to Hermann Court. The Polar Bears would get the best of the Quakers once again, claiming a 72-64 victory. That would mark only 1-of-4 times Wilmington would be held under 64 points the entire season.

The Wilmington offense didn't wait long to get back on track as it crossed the 100-point plateau for the second time on the then young season.

The Quakers shot nearly 50 percent from the field including an 11-of-20 performance from three-point range in a triumph over the University of Mount Union.

Freshman Elise Carpenter goes up for a basket.
Lone senior Kelly Noll converts a layup.
Freshman Zahrya Bailey drives to the hoop

After nearly two weeks off, the Quakers traveled north on US Route 68 to Springfield for the Charles B. Zimmerman Memorial Tournament hosted by Wittenberg University for the final two games of the 2019 calendar year.

The Tigers got the best of the Quakers in the opening game, scoring an 85-68 triumph, but Wilmington rebounded to overwhelm Westminster College (Missouri) 90-52 thanks in large part of 22 steals.

The beginning of 2020 was kind to Wilmington despite competing in a tough atmosphere - Ban Johnson Arena at Marietta College.

The Quakers, thanks to a 14-4 run, took a 10-point lead into halftime and rode that to a 75-65 victory.

The next road trip that followed didn't go as well. Capital University, thanks to a 30-8 start in the first dozen minutes, held on to defeat Wilmington 82-76.

Wilmington returned home to face defending champions John Carroll, which left Fred Raizk Arena with a double-digit win.

The Quakers wouldn't let the slide go another game, however, as a weekday trip to Otterbein yielded an 88-78 triumph.

After a defeat at the hands of Baldwin Wallace University, Wilmington got back on track against Muskingum University on January 22.

The hosts led 44-39 at halftime, but the Fighting Muskies battles back to regain a one-possession lead in the third quarter.

The Quakers broke the game open in the fourth quarter and coasted to an 88-69 victory.

Mount Union and Ohio Northern both held home court against Wilmington as January ended, and February beginning wouldn't change that trajectory. Heidelberg and Otterbein, both of which had fallen to the Quakers at home in the first round robin, escaped Hermann Court with close victories.

Baldwin Wallace, which ended up in the second weekend of the NCAA Division III Tournament, swept the season series with a win in Berea. Sitting at 9-12 overall and 6-9 in OAC play, Wilmington needed to rebound to make the postseason.

The Quakers got back on track with a 104-53 whitewashing of Muskingum in New Concord.

After sweeping Muskingum, Wilmington turned its sights to sweeping Marietta when the Pioneers came to Hermann Court on February 15.

The Pioneers got out to a 9-2 advantage from the opening tip-off, but the Quakers scored on their final three possessions of the first quarter to lead 18-14.

Wilmington led by two (29-27) at halftime, but opened up a 9-point advantage after 10 minutes.

The Quakers, led by 25 points by McKayla Binkley, held the lead in the fourth quarter for the victory.

That victory over Marietta would be the last victory for the Quakers on the season. Capital and John Carroll defeated Wilmington to close out the season. Coincidentally, LQB had to travel back to University Heights for postseason. It was the second year in a row WC faced the Blue Streaks for the second time in three days.

Unlike the first two meetings, this OAC Tournament quarterfinal was close all the way through.

John Carroll led the majority of the game, but Wilmington, playing without its starting point guard Kennedy Lewis, battled valiantly and took a slim lead in the middle of the third quarter.

JCU pulled away in the fourth, ending the Quakers' season with a 79-67 loss.

For the third consecutive year, Wilmington finished the year with 11 victories. One of the nation's top scoring offenses, junior McKayla Binkley, the league's top scorer, was rewarded with First Team All-OAC honors. A consistent scorer, Binkley scored in double figures in all 26 games including crossing the 20-point plateau nine times. In six of those games, Binkley achieved a double-double.

Kennedy Lewis also earned All-League honors, being named Honorable Mention All-OAC.

Lewis, along with junior Ellen Nilback, also displayed prowess in the classroom. Both achieved a 3.80 cumulative GPA and garnered Academic All-OAC recognition.