Topper Women Prevail

WEST LIBERTY – The West Liberty University women’s basketball team won its eighth straight game Thursday night, storming back from a halftime deficit to outrun Shepherd, 105-98, at the ASRC.

Kailee Howe poured in a game-high 30 points while handing out eight assists and Liz Flowers notched her fourth career double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds as Coach Lynn Ullom’s Hilltoppers (16-8, 13-5) avenged last month’s 78-73 loss to the Rams (2-19, 2-15).

West Liberty dominated the opening 10 minutes, going up 31-16 when Flowers finished off a pretty pass from Howe in transition with 10:21 still showing on the first-half clock.

Turnovers and defensive lapses plagued the Hilltoppers for the rest of the period, however, and the upset-minded visitors surged back to carry a 49-46 lead into the locker room at intermission.

It didn’t take West Liberty long to regain the momentum when play resumed.

Howe fed Jenn Mohney for a transition hoop and Mohney followed with a net-splashing 3-pointer from the corner off a heads-up feed from Flowers to cap a 16-3 run and put the Hilltoppers ahead to stay, 68-60, with 11:49 remaining.

The lead swelled as high as 15 points in the final 5 minutes before Shepherd mounted one last challenge. The Rams cut the margin to 5 points, 103-98, on a Cara Mason rebound basket with 8 seconds left but Howe knocked down a pair of free throws at the other end to salt the game away.

Howe accounted for nearly half of her points from the charity stripe, knocking down 14 of 16 free throws, while Flowers backed up her double-double with 6 assists and 4 blocked shots.

Emily Bucon came off the bench with 13 points and 8 rebounds while Bri Kamarec rounded out the double-figure scorers with a dozen points.

Shepherd got 28 points and 14 rebounds from Gabby Flinchum with Mason adding 26 tallies and Rachel Johnson finishing with 20.

West Liberty takes its 8-game winning streak on the road Saturday for a crucial MEC tilt at Fairmont State. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at Joe Retton Arena.