The Wheeling Jesuit women's basketball team opened the 2012-13 season at home, the Alma Grace McDonough Center, against Slippery Rock University. The Cardinals and the Rock battled to the final buzzer, and Jesuit held-on for a 59-56 victory.
The Cardinals bench provided the offensive power, scoring 45-out-of-59 total points. WJU was paced by Kelsey Pacholke, who tallied a double-double in the home opener, with a team-high 18 points and 13 rebounds. The sophomore from East Lake, Ohio was 8-for-12 from the floor and added a 2-for-3 showing at the foul line. Lucy DeFruscio followed with 11 points on a 5-for-10 effort. Jaila Bryant and Jamie Sobczak rounded out the non-starters performances with nine and seven, respectively.
During the first half, the two teams battled to a 28-28 stalemate. The Rock established the upper hand in the second half, controlling the scoreboard by as many as five points in the initial eight minutes. Back-to-back scores by Bryant (lay up) and Emily Robinson (3-pointer) knotted the game at 42 points apiece, and the back-and-forth battle began.
With 5:49 left to play, Taneka Lewis lifted the Cardinals to a 51-49 advantage, and Jesuit never looked back. WJU extended the lead to as many as six points when a pair of scores by the Rock made it a one point game, 55-54. On the ensuing possession, Pacholke answered with a lay-in. Bryan and Robinson each added one free throw, and the Rock's final attempt to tie the game rattled the rim as the buzzer sounded.
D'Asia Chambers led Slippery Rock with 14 points, and Alexas Brown followed with 12 points. Jesuit won the battle of the boards 48-44.
Wheeling Jesuit will be back in action at the Alma Grace McDonough Center on Saturday, Nov. 17 against Tiffin University. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.