Toppers Women Advance to Quarters
WEST LIBERTY – With three upsets among the seven games, unpredictability ruled the night everywhere in the first round of the Women’s West Virginia Conference Tournament on Monday.
Except, of course, at West Liberty, where you can set your clock by a 42-point victory in late February.
The Hilltoppers yielded only 13 first-half points and blitzed their way to an 81-39 victory against Ohio Valley, building on a streak that has seen them never lose a first-round game since they were moved to campus sites in 1995.
”I think a lot of that record can be attributed to us doing pretty well in the regular season and getting a better game,” WLU coach Lynn Ullom said.
Anyone who watched this one – the Fighting Scots’ last as a member of the WVC – might argue that, but that’s not what the veteran coach meant.
”We haven’t played a lot of seven vs. 10 games, eight vs. nine games,” said Ullom, whose teams recorded its 20th victory of the season, giving the program 12 of those the last 14 years.
No. Through the years, there have bunch of these games at WLU- a 2-seed vs. a 15 seed that had won all of two games all season and lost seven by 20 or more.
Nearly all of them looked like this one.
The Hilltoppers (20-7) led 36-13 at halftime and pushed a lead to as high as 46 with 3:20 left on a Jordan Stacey 3-pointer before the Scots outscored WLU 6-2 the rest of the way.
West Liberty did this despite turning the ball over 19 times and allowing 25 offensive rebounds – 46 in its last two games.
Given that OV shot 20 percent from overall (14 of 69) and 6.7 percent from beyond the arc (1 of 15), it was anybody’s guess where those balls would carom. The Scots simply guessed right more often than the Hilltoppers.
Of course, that didn’t necessarily make Ullom feel any better about it.
”We went from being one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the region to one of the worst,” Ullom said, ”In about a month.”
Meghan Wiseman led WLU with 21 points, while WVC Player of the Year Hillary Southworth added 17. Liz Flowers and Stacey each added 10 points, with Stacey adding 10 rebounds to leave the ASRC floor the final time with a double double.
From here, the Hilltoppers head to the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum on Wednesday at 3 p.m. to face No. 7 Shepherd.
The two teams split during the regular season on each other’s floor, lending credence to Ullom’s belief of a whole bunch of parity in the league this season.
”It’s one of those weird years where you don’t know what teams are going to do on a nightly basis, including us,” Ullom said.
No. 4 Davis & Elkins fell to No. 13 Alderson-Broaddus, 58-54; No. 11 W.Va. Wesleyan was beat by No. 6 W.Va. State, 66-56, and No. 9 Charleston nipped No. 8 Pitt-Johnstown, 72-64, on Monday night. Shepherd needed a late 3-pointer to beat No. 10 Bluefield State, 62-61,
Wheeling Jesuit 47
FAIRMONT – Wheeling Jesuit saw its season come to an end via a 36-point loss to Fairmont State at Joe Retton Arena.
Wheeling Jesuit (8-19) was led by 12 points from Jaila Bryant. Jamie Sobczak had eight points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinals.
Emily Lohr paced the Falcons offense with 17 points, including four 3-pointers, to go with six rebounds. Hailey Garrett added 16 points and six rebounds for FSU. Kaitlin Snyder scored 11 points, handed out a game-high seven assists and grabbed six rebounds for FSU.
Fairmont State shot 58 percent from the field for the game, while Wheeling Jesuit struggled from the field, making 22 percent of its shots. The Cardinals were 4 of 22 from behind the arc and 15 of 23 from the free-throw line.