RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande women’s basketball team didn’t have the red-hot shooting touch that they enjoyed in last Saturday’s win at Indiana University East, but that didn’t prevent the RedStorm from burying yet another opponent.
Head coach David Smalley’s squad pulled away after the first quarter — particularly in the second half — and cruised to a 97-55 rout of Wilberforce University, Wednesday night, in non-conference action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Rio Grande, which moved up to No. 18 in the latest NAIA women’s basketball rankings earlier in the day, improved to 15-0 with the win and extended the best start in program history.
Wilberforce slipped to 5-10 as a result of a sixth straight loss and fell to the RedStorm for the 38th time in 46 all-time meetings.
The Bulldogs hung close early, though, and trailed just 21-17 after a pair of free throws by Rio Grande transfer Samaria Rodgers-Gossett with 51 seconds left in the opening quarter. But Rio scored the final four points of the period before extending their lead to as many as 18 points late in the half and to 16 points, 45-29, by the intermission.
Wilberforce got no closer the rest of the way, with the RedStorm’s cushion reaching 24 points by the end of the third quarter and 42 points at the conclusion of the contest.
Rio Grande, which shot 77 percent in the second half and 65 percent for the game on Saturday at IU East, shot just 37 percent against the Bulldogs, connecting on just 34 of its season-high 91 overall field goal attempts.
The flood of missed shots also helped to facilitate a season-high 73 rebounds. In fact, the RedStorm had more offensive rebounds (37) than the Bulldogs had total rebounds (34).
Freshman Harlei Antritt (Newark, OH) had a career-high 16 points and 13 rebounds in just 13 minutes of playing time, while junior Hailey Jordan (Columbus, OH) narrowly missed a double-double effort of her own with 16 points, nine rebounds, a game-high three steals and a pair of blocked shots.
Senior Chyna Chambers (Columbus, OH) netted 15 points and handed out a game-high five assists in the winning effort, while junior Ella Skeens (Chillicothe, OH) did record a double-double with 11 points and a career-best 16 rebounds.
Lea Coulter led Wilberforce with a career-high 16 points off the bench. She also added a team-high six rebounds and two steals.
Nia McCormick, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer entering the contest and another Rio Grande transfer, was limited to just three points on 1-for-8 shooting.
Wilberforce shot just 33 percent overall (21-for-63), 10 percent from distance (1-for-10) and committed 18 turnovers which led to 21 RedStorm points.
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action next Tuesday when the University of Pikeville visits for a 4 p.m. tipoff.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.