MICHIGAN CITY | Wheeler's offense finally got into a groove in the third quarter against Marquette in the first round of the Greater South Shore Conference Tournament on Tuesday night.
The Bearcats went on a 13-0 run to put away the game in the third quarter and crushed the Blazers 64-20.
"We were a little cold coming off (at the beginning of the game)," Wheeler's Nickole Finch said. "We were getting pumped up, because it's a big game for us."
Finch scored half of her game-high 16 points in the third quarter, including five straight points to open the half.
"I was missing short a little bit, and coach was telling me what to do, and I just listened," Finch said. "Shots started falling, so they kept giving me the ball. Our team does a good job at giving the ball to the hot hand."
"Nickole just caught fire in the third quarter," Wheeler coach Dustin Nelson said. "What was really nice about Nickole's game from tip to buzzer was that she was scoring in a variety of ways. She could hit the three, posted up a few times, got the ball in the corner and drove it a few times, so it was a balance scoring effort for her."
Wheeler will host Calumet at 7 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals.
Wheeler kept the Blazers scoreless until four minutes remained in the quarter and took a 51-16 lead going into the fourth.
"We had long possessions in the first half, and we had better looks. That kept us in it," Marquette coach Jordan Gallas said. "Then Wheeler came in and knocked down some shots in the third quarter. Wheeler got out and had a couple of open looks."
Wheeler (11-4, 7-1) led 15-4 in the first quarter. The Bearcats kept Marquette scoreless from the middle of the first quarter until six minutes remained in the half.
"We were working on our zone plays, and we knew Marquette was going to show us a zone defense," Nelson said. "It gave us an opportunity to work on our zone offense. We wanted to focus on limiting (Mary) Salyer's looks, since she's their leading scorer and had 16 points against us last time. I thought Tijana (Raketic) and Allie (Stevenson) together did a good job at that."
The Bearcats held Marquette to 5-of-23 shooting, with Salyer going 0-for-7. Sydney Mussman led Marquette (0-15) with 10 points.
Paige Finch added had 12 points for Wheeler.