WLU Women Advance

GREENSBURG, Pa. – West Liberty University senior Kayla Ayers scored her 1,000th career point and made her 100th 3-point field goal of the season Monday night as the Hilltoppers breezed past Seton Hill, 71-62, in a West Virginia Conference Tournament first-round game at Salvitti Gym.

The victory sends West Liberty to Charleston for a Wednesday night quarterfinal against regular-season champion and No. 1 seed W.Va. Wesleyan (22-5). Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at the Civic Center Coliseum.

Ayers, an All-WVIAC first teamer, hit back-to-back bonus bombs to put the No. 9-seeded Hilltoppers (15-14) ahead to stay less than 5 minutes after Monday’s opening tip but she was just warming up.

Ayers’ fifth 3-pointer – which came just past the midway mark of the first half – gave West Liberty its first double-digit lead, 28-18, and the No. 8-seeded Griffins (11-18) had no answers.

The Hilltoppers led by as many as 14 points in each half and the stunned Griffins never got closer than eight points the rest of the night.

While serious foul problems kept West Liberty from breaking the game wide open, Coach Lynn Ullom’s visitors maintained a double-digit lead over the final 10 minutes until SHU’s Tiara Stossel dropped in an uncontested layup at the buzzer.

Ayers provided the early spark with 17 of her 24 points coming in the first half but the Hilltoppers’ other two double-figure scorers were more than willing to help fan the flames.

Junior post Emily Blevins weighed in with a double-double of 24 points and 13 rebounds while sophomore wing Hillary Southworth finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds. The talented trio combined for 63 of West Liberty’s 71 points.

Senior point guard Erica Hershberger had just 2 points but was a major factor with a game-high 6 assists and a career-high 9 rebounds as the Hilltoppers posted a whopping 40-28 edge off the glass.

Paige Alviani had 20 points to lead Seton Hill.

NOTES

  • The 26th member of West Liberty’s 1,000-Point Club with 1,016 points, Ayers joined WLU Hall of Famer Melissa Hammond as the only Hilltoppers with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 3-point field goals in their careers.
  • With 102 3-point field goals in her 26 games, Ayers leads the nation with an average of 3.92 3-point field goals per game.
  • A Hilltopper has led the nation in 3-point field goals in 5 of the last 9 seasons.
  • This is the 10th consecutive season that West Liberty has had at least one player with 100 or more 3-pointers, an NCAA women’s basketball record
  • The Hilltoppers improved to 12-0 in WVIAC Tournament first-round games since they were moved to campus sites in 1995.
  • Monday’s victory avenged a 76-74 overtime loss to Seton Hill on Jan. 17 at the ASRC.
  • West Liberty is 16-4 all-time in WVIAC Tournament quarterfinals.

No. 2 Concord 82

No. 15 Wheeling Jesuit 57

CONCORD – Concord jumped out to a commanding halftime and never was threatened in defeating Wheeling Jesuit in a West Virginia Conference first-round tilt.

The Rams (23-5), the tourney’s No. 2 seed advanced to Wednesday’s quarterfinals at the Charleston Civic Center where it will meet No. 10 seed Charleston, a 56-51 winner against No. 7 seed Pitt-Johnstown.

The Cardinals finished at 5-23.

Concord jumped out to a 52-18 halftime lead thanks to 54 percent shooting from the field. WJU, meanwhile, was a cool 24 percent from the field during the first half.

Jolysa Brown paced the Rams with game highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Camisha Alexander and Andrea Bertrand each added 18 points.

Emily Robinson topped the Cardinals with 21 points, while Cassy Sanderson had 12.