WILBERFORCE, Ohio — Despite a sluggish offensive start, the University of Rio Grande outscored host Wilberforce University in all four quarters and cruised to a 75-58 win over the Bulldogs, Tuesday night, in non-conference women’s basketball action at the Gaston Lewis Arena.
The RedStorm, who learned they’d cracked the NAIA DII Top 25 poll at No. 21 shortly before tipoff, improved to 18-1 with a 16th straight victory.
The 16-game win streak equals a program record set during the 2014-15 season — the last time that Rio earned a berth to the national tournament.
Wilberforce, which was playing its first game since Dec. 9 and its first home game since Nov. 7, slipped to 6-9 with the loss — its third in as many outings against Rio this season.
The RedStorm connected on just five of their 27 field goal attempts in the opening period, but took a lead they would never relinquish when a three-pointer by sophomore Sydney Holden (Wheelersburg, OH) gave the visitors an 11-8 advantage with 1:58 remaining in the stanza.
Rio led by as many as 14 points before settling on a nine-point halftime cushion and continued to pull away over the final two periods.
After the RedStorm scored the first 10 points of the second half, the Bulldogs got no closer than 12 points on three different occasions in the third quarter.
Rio’s largest lead of the night was 23 points, which it reached twice in the final 4:13 of the contest.
Ten different players scored for the RedStorm, including three who reached double figures.
Junior Chelsy Slone (Gallipolis, OH) led the way with a career-high 19 points — 15 of which came via five three-point goals.
Holden finished with 14 points, while junior Jasmine Smith (Canal Winchester, OH) added 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Dameras Whitlock netted a team-high 18 points and had nine rebounds in her season debut for Wilberforce, while Brittney Wells tossed in 13 and Alexandra Shealey finished with 10 points.
Rio Grande returns to action Saturday afternoon when it faces West Virginia University Tech in a River States Conference game at Charleston (WV) Catholic High School. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.