WILMINGTON - Heidelberg was in position to make history Monday night at Wilmington.
The Student Princes, the No. 8 seed in the Ohio Athletic Conference tournament, held a 33-31 halftime lead on the Quakers, a team they had not beaten since 2000. HU also was in search of its first OAC Tournament win in 10 years.
But HU went cold in the second half, and its season ended.
Heidelberg began the half with a layup by Columbian graduate Megan Miller, which put it up 4 points. But it didn't score another field goal for more than 12 minutes - and managed just two free throws in the span.
By the time Paige Ricketts ended the drought with a layup at the 7:36 mark, Wilmington had gone on a 14-2 run and taken a lead it didn't relinquish. The Quaker led by as many as 10 in the second half, then fought off a Heidelberg surge to win 57-51 in the opening round of the OAC Tournament.
Wilmington (13-13) got 21 points and 10 rebounds from Haley Howard, and held Heidelberg to just 18 second-half points.
"We couldn't overcome scoring woes in the second half and had some critical turnovers that led to easy scores for them," said first-year Heidelberg coach Morgan Shriver.
With the victory, the Quakers advance to play the No. 4-seeded Capital - and St. Wendelin graduate Cookie Geroski - tonight in Bexley.
Heidelberg (12-14) was led on offense by Miller, who had 11 points. No other HU player scored in double figures.
Miller made three of Heidelberg's eight 3-pointers on the night.
Kathleen Phillips, 'Berg's leading scorer on the season, scored nine points on 3 of 13 shooting from the floor. Molly Schriber also had nine points for HU, while Ricketts was a point away from a double-double, finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Heidelberg's Allie Hawkins contributed nine points off the bench (all 3-pointers), while Nicole Payne added four points.
Heidelberg shot just 6 of 30 (20 percent) from the floor in the second half. For the game, it only got to the line 10 times, making seven free throws.
Wilmington, by contrast, was 23 of 31 from the stripe.
"Sending them to the free throw line 31 times while only getting to shoot 10 also was a major factor in the game," Shriver said.
Makenzie Wippel had 11 points for Wilmington. Spencer Robles - a Clyde High School graduate -didn't score for the Quakers but did secure four rebounds in seven minutes.
The Student Princes haven't won an OAC tournament game since Feb. 23, 2004, when they beat Marietta, 67-59.
Shriver said she was proud of how hard her team played.
Proud of our fight and we will let this loss hunger our desire to improve in the offseason and come back stronger next season, she said.