WILBERFORCE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande overcame a 16-point first half deficit and used a late scoring spurt to pull away down the stretch and post a 79-65 win over Wilberforce University, Wednesday night, in non-conference women’s basketball action at the Alumni Multiplex.
Rio Grande, which completed a regular season sweep of the Bulldogs with the win, improved to 7-2 with the victory.
Wilberforce slipped to 1-10 with the loss.
The game was tied at 55-55 after a pair of free throws by the Bulldogs’ Chanel Davis with 9:00 remaining, but Rio went on a 24-5 scoring blitz over the next eight minutes to win going away.
The RedStorm shot 51 percent from the floor in the second half and had three players finish in double figures.
Sophomore forward Sarah Bonar (Hartford, OH) finished with a game-high 20 points, 14 of which came in the second half, while freshman forward Brooke Marcum (Vinton, OH) scored 10 of her 12 points after the break and junior guard Brianna Thomas (Maplewood, NJ) netted eight of her 11 points over the final 20 minutes.
Marcum also finished with a team-high 10 rebounds, while Thomas also had a club-best five assists and four steals.
Rio’s strong second half came after it shot just 28.6 percent from the field in the first half (10-for-35) and went scoreless for the game’s first 5:09.
Wilberforce built a 10-0 lead out of the gate and, by the time Rio managed its first field goal at the 12:24 mark of the period, the Bulldogs enjoyed a 14-2 advantage.
Wilberforce’s biggest lead of the night was 16 points, 20-4, after a bucket by Da’Sha’Nay Corley with 10:50 remaining before the intermission and the lead still stood at 12 points, 33-21, after a pair of Chanel Davis free throws with 2:47 left before the break, but Rio closed the half on a 10-2 run to close the gap to 35-31 at the half.
The RedStorm opened the second stanza with an 8-3 run and took their first lead of the night, 39-38, following a bucket by Marcum with 17:33 left in the contest.
The two teams traded the lead over the next 8-1/2 minutes, setting up Rio’s game-changing scoring spurt.
Davis scored 18 points to pace the home team, while Brittani Thomas had 13, Danisha Brown netted 12 and Corley finished with 10. Kendra Moss also had a game-high 12 rebounds in a losing cause, while Davis had three assists and Corley had three steals.
The Bulldogs committed 22 turnovers and were outrebounded 51-49.
Rio Grande returns to action on Wednesday, Dec. 4, with a non-conference tilt at West Virginia Tech. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.