PHILADELPHIA – Since joining the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) in the 2005-06 season, the Philadelphia University women's basketball team has made the conference tournament ever year. The Rams kept that streak intact Tuesday night in the Gallagher Center by defeating Wilmington (Del.) University 81-74 in the regular season finale and earn the final spot in the tournament field.
Philadelphia concludes the regular season with an overall record of 14-14 and a conference record of 9-10. The Rams—who are in the CACC Tournament field for the 11th straight season—will take on northern division champion Caldwell University in the opening round on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. in the Newman Center.
The Rams took control of the contest in the third quarter as they broke a 34-all tie with a 9-2 run to open up a 43-36 advantage on a Rachel Day (Horsham, Pa./Archbishop Ryan) 3-pointer. With the gap down to five, Philadelphia rattled off seven of the next nine points, capped off by an Alynna Williams (Ambler, Pa./Plymouth-Whitemarsh) triple, to take a 50-40 lead at the 2:09 mark. Williams' second 3-pointer of the quarter, coming with 16 seconds remaining, pushed the margin up to 13 (55-42).
In the third quarter, Philadelphia shot 7-of-12 (58.3 percent), including 3-of-4 from behind the 3-point arc. The Rams also owned a 12-7 rebounding advantage.
Wilmington (12-16, 9-10 CACC) made a late push in the fourth quarter with eight straight points to cut the Philadelphia lead to just five (62-57) with 4:00 left to play. Erin Maher (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn) made a 10-footer on the Rams' next possession to settle the team down and start a run of five straight Philadelphia points that allowed them to reclaim a 10-point margin (67-57).
The Wildcats managed to close to within six inside of the final minute, by Erin Rafter (Sewell, N.J./Washington Twp.) and Maher put the game on ice as they went 2-for-2 at the free throw line of back-to-back possessions, allowing the Rams to go up 81-71.
After falling behind 5-2 early on, Philadelphia scored 14 of the next 18 points to take a quarter-high seven-point lead (16-9) on a Rafter put back at the 3:30 mark. With Philadelphia's lead sitting at five to start the second quarter, the Rams scored the first quarter's first seven points to widen the margin to 27-15 on a Jessica Kaminski (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Wood) layup.
Over a five-minute span, Wilmington outscored Philadelphia 10-0 to cut the gap to just two points (30-28) with 3:06 before the half. Philadelphia led at the half 34-30.
Day recorded a game-high 19 points to lead four Rams in double figures. Williams poured in 18 points, while Kaminski finished the night with 17 points. Rafter recorded 11 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocked shots.
Jasmine Lee paced Wilmington with 18 points and LaShrya Williams added 17 points.
The Rams finished the game shooting 48.2 percent (27-of-56) from the field and 82.6 percent (19-of-23) at the free-throw line. Wilmington shot 39.5 percent (30-of-76) overall and just 7-of-10 from the stripe.