ELKINS – There is probably no one in the Mountain East Conference who comes off the bench and scores points like West Virginia Wesleyan’s senior forward Abi Gabauer.
Gabauer, West Virginia Wesleyan’s sixth man, or in this case, sixth woman, provides a spark like few can when entering the game for the Lady Bobcats.
This time she helped the Lady Bobcats to a 68-57 win over the homestanding Davis & Elkins Senators Wednesday night in a Mountain East Conference contest.
Gabauer scored a game-high 25 points, just one point shy of her career high of 26 points, and pulled down 11 rebounds for a double-double.
“I knew playing Davis & Elkins, that it would be a good match-up for Abi,” remarked West Virginia Wesleyan head coach Vicky Bullett. “Abi has always been a good shooter and works extremely hard to make up for her lack of speed and strength when playing against quicker players and stronger post players. But she never gives up because she loves the game, she is passionate about her contribution whether she starts or not.”
Gabauer, who averages 24.5 minutes per game in her role of coming off the bench, is tied for the team lead in scoring with 11.5 points per game and is third on the team in rebounding with 5.5 per game.
Gabauer, who usually enters the game at the six-minute mark of the first quarter remarked, about her role, “I love this game so much. Any time I get the opportunity, I want to give my best. I have so much fun. My emotion shines through my game.”
“Abi will embrace each opportunity that is placed in front of her whether she starts or not,” stated Bullett about her senior forward. “She just wants to play. This young lady gives me joy watching the emotions that she plays with. Abi sits at the edge of her seat each game waiting to sprint in the game and it's usually after four minutes of play that I sub her in. I like her coming off the bench. She is my secret weapon in most games. When she is having a good start, I know I have to get the others to find her when the teams sleep on her on the perimeter. Abi is a gem in so many ways. I don't want to stop coaching her!”
A three-pointer by Courtney Wilfong gave Wesleyan an early 9-6 lead in the contest but Davis & Elkins went on a 7-0 run for a 13-9 lead with 2:47 left in the opening quarter.
Wesleyan closed the quarter on a 7-1 run as Gabauer made a three-pointer to wrap up the first-quarter scoring, treating the Lady Bobcats to a 16-14 lead.
Wesleyan led for most of the second quarter and a trey from Gabauer put Wesleyan up by a 32-28 score with a minute left in the half.
Wesleyan went into the intermission up 34-30.
A three-pointer by Brittany Stawovy at the five-minute mark of the third quarter gave Wesleyan their biggest lead of the stanza, at nine, at 45-36.
The Lady Bobcats settled on a six-point lead at the end of the third quarter, at 49-43.
Gabauer started the fourth quarter with a three-pointer, and after a free throw by Davis & Elkins’ Peyton Mohler, Summer Matlack popped in a jumper in the paint to give Wesleyan a 10-point lead, at 54-44.
Wesleyan continued to build their lead as a lay-up by Malaika Kimmons put them up by 12, at 60-48, with 2:58 remaining in the game.
Their biggest lead of the quarter and the game came after Stawovy made a pair of free throws with 31 seconds remaining, at 14 points, at 68-54.
Jessica Eadsforth-Yates wrapped up the scoring for Davis & Elkins with a three-pointer.
Behind Gabauer in the scoring column for Wesleyan were Cierra Tolbert with a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds and Kimmons who scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Stawovy added seven points and nine rebounds for