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Fairmont State Falcons Down West Liberty Hilltoppers Women

Photo by WLU Athletics West Liberty’s Taylor Johnson looks to make a play during Wednesday’s basketball action.

WEST LIBERTY — It was a rough night shooting during the first three quarters for the West Liberty women’s basketball team.

The Hilltoppers went 11 of 47 from the field as Fairmont State was able to grab a significant lead. Although West Liberty shot 64.7 percent (11-for-17) in the fourth quarter, the hole proved to be too big as the Falcons ran away with a 84-67 victory Wednesday night at the ASRC.

“Coming out at halftime, we came to play,” West Liberty coach Kyle Cooper said. “We finally woke up, we got outside of ourselves. We started relying on each other a little bit more, had more bounce, had more love to it and you saw a team that executed.

“The thing that’s hard about it is that the start of that game, moments of it, it looked like the way it’s supposed to, but overall it just didn’t. Too many system errors and it’s two systems that whichever team executes them better are going to win in this game. It’s a lot of shooting. A lot of outside shots, a lot of downhill drives, make reads for both teams.

“I thought they seemed way more bought in to the execution early. That created a first quarter that dug us in a major hole that carried over in the second.

It’s very hard to play uphill in a game like that when you got some premiere players that can really play. They (Fairmont State) are a talented roster.”

Morgan Brunner hit a 3-pointer to put the score at 15-13 in favor of Fairmont State with 3:53 to go in the first quarter. That’s when the shooting woes began and the Falcons went on a 18-3 run that transitioned into the second quarter. The lead did not fall below double digits for the rest of the game.

The Falcons led by as many as 25 in the third quarter thanks to a conventional 3-point play by Sierra Kotchman as the score read, 54-29 with 4:12 remaining.

The Hilltoppers were able to trim the lead to 14 in the fourth (76-62) thanks to a Destiny Hutcheson jumper in the paint, but that was as close as the Hilltoppers got.

“It’s not to discredit anything Fairmont was doing or not doing, they were playing really hard. They were pressuring the ball,” Cooper said. “But unfortunately, we tried to play their game in the first half. This game was going to be dictated by us by pace and passing. We talked about it for the last two days. We fell into the trap of playing their game. We didn’t have any pace or any quality passing. We are a team that thrives off each other, we did not play that way in the first half.”

Brunner led the way for the Hilltoppers with 20 points while Taylor Johnson supplied 18. Audrey Tingle was a force off the boards as she pulled down 17 rebounds.

For Fairmont State, Kotchman had 25 points while both Brooke Kurucz and Rachel Laskody had 18. Kamrin Weimer netted 12 and Wheeling Central graduate Taylor Duplaga supplied four.

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