WHEELING, W. Va. – The Urbana University women’s basketball team dropped its conference opener 88-61 on the road against Wheeling Jesuit Saturday afternoon.
After falling behind 15-2 out of the gate, UU battled back to make it a five-point game early in the second quarter, but the Cardinals closed out the half in strong fashion to lead comfortably at the break, 44-29.
Sophomores Danie Shafer and Jazmyn Haley each scored a career-high 14 points to lead UU offensively. Shafer hit four 3-pointers and shot 40 percent from deep, and came up just shy of a double-double with a team-high nine rebounds. Haley shot an efficient 7 of 14 from the post and grabbed seven boards on the defensive end.
UU (1-1) was limited to 37.5 percent shooting from the field and made nine 3-pointers on 25 attempts. The Blue Knights were out-rebounded 46-35, including 12-8 on the offensive glass.
Free throws were a major factor in this one, as UU attempted only seven shots from the line, while the Cardinals took advantage by sinking 18 of 24 free-throw attempts.
Haley recorded the first Blue Knight points off the bench, as her layup with 6:52 left in the first quarter stopped an 8-0 Cardinal run, momentarily.
Wheeling Jesuit extended its lead to 15-2, but the Blue Knights closed the quarter on a 10-5 run, capped by a Megan Beachy (8 points) 3-pointer and pair of free throws to make it 20-12.
Shafer knocked down her second three at the start of the second quarter to bring UU to within five points, but that was the closest the Blue Knights would get the rest of the game.
The Cardinals used two separate 7-0 runs to help increase their lead to 15 points at halftime. Haley and Ariana Harper (9 points) stopped the bleeding momentarily when they made layups on back-to-back possessions with four minutes before the break.
UU faded in the second half and trailed by as many as 29. WJU forced 19 Blue Knight turnovers, while the home team gave the ball up 11 times during the contest.
WJU had three players score in double figures, led by Mariah Callen who poured in a game-high 18 points.
UU will host its home opener on Monday against No. 21 West Liberty. The opening tip is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. inside the Grimes Center.