Lady Bobcats sting Yellow Jackets in first-round of MEC Tournament

Brittany Stawovy (10) of the West Virginia Wesleyan Lady Bobcats pops in an outside jumper in front of two West Virginia State defenders during their MEC First Round Tournament contest Monday night in Institute. Stawovy had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds in Wesleyan’s 100-84 victory.

INSTITUTE – The West Virginia Wesleyan Lady Bobcats saved their best offensive performance for the best possible time – the first round of the MEC Tournament.

During the regular season, Wesleyan had the second-worst offense in the MEC scoring just 64.7 points per game, but they lit up the scoreboard in their tournament opener on the road against the West Virginia State Yellow Jackets reaching triple digits in a 100-84 win.

Their previous high on the season was an 86-point effort in a win against Alderson Broaddus.

Wesleyan shot a solid 51.4 percent from the floor as they made 37 of their 72 field goal attempts and were a red-hot 84 percent from the free throw line making 21 of their 25 attempts.

Wesleyan put six players in double digits as Abi Gabauer came off the bench in her sixth-man role to lead the Lady ‘Cats in scoring with 24 points.

Symphonie Bryant-Brown added 20 points while Brittany Stawovy recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Malaika Kimmons tacked on 13 points, Summer Matlack added 11 and Courtney Wilfong chipped in 10.

The win was also a measure of revenge for the Lady ‘Cats as they dropped both regular-season contests with the Yellow Jackets getting outscored by a combined 217-137 score.

“Our players have been attentive at practice and it carried over,” remarked Wesleyan head coach Vicky Bullett. “We had to get the ball up the court and be patient. They are believing that they can continue to grow in a short time.”

Wesleyan built an early 8-2 lead after a lay-up by Bryant-Brown, but the Yellow Jackets scored six straight points to deadlock the game at 8-8.

With the game still tied at 13-13, Wesleyan went on a 7-2 run capped by a Stawovy three-pointer treating the visitors to a 20-15 lead.

The Yellow Jackets scored the final four points of the opening quarter, four free throws by Alexis Hall to make it a 20-19 game after one-quarter of action.

Wesleyan started the second quarter on a 6-0 run for a 26-19 lead but West Virginia State countered with a 12-4 run taking their first lead of the game, at 31-30, with 5:50 left in the stanza.

Wesleyan saw their deficit grow to six points, being down by a 44-38 score with 2:15 remaining in the half.

The Lady ‘Cats outscored West Virginia State in the final two minutes by a 9-5 margin as they trailed by just two at the intermission at 49-47.

The Yellow Jackets built their lead back to six on two different occasions in the third quarter, the last being up 59-53 at the 4:43 mark.

A Gabauer lay-up with a minute remaining tied the game at 65-65 and Cierra Tolbert made a lay-up to wrap up the scoring in the third giving Wesleyan a 67-65 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Wesleyan never trailed in the fourth quarter and started the stanza on a 6-0 for a 73-65 advantage.

A 4-0 mini-run by West Virginia State cut the Wesleyan lead to 73-69, but the Lady ‘Cats responded with an 8-0 run for an 11-point lead, at 80-69, with 4:42 left in the contest.

The Yellow Jackets were able to cut the Wesleyan lead to seven after a three-pointer by Shelby Harmeyer, at 84-77, but the Lady ‘Cats didn’t let West Virginia State get any closer.

Wesleyan built their lead up to 16, at 95-79, following a jumper by Bryant-Brown with 1:25 left.

The Lady ‘Cats kept the 16-point lead at the end of the game.

Alexis Hall led the Yellow Jackets with 15 points while Payton Shears added 13.

Shelby Harmeyer had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

West Virginia State ended their year with an 8-8 record.

Wesleyan improved to 6-10 on the year and will now advance to the MEC quarterfinals where they will face Notre Dame today at 2 p.m. as the WesBanco Arena in Wheeling.

Notre Dame received a first-round bye after winning the MEC North Division with a 13-3 record.

Notre Dame won the only meeting with Wesleyan during the regular season taking a 76-66 decision in South Euclid (Ohio) on Feb. 1.

The boxscore:

W. Va. Wesleyan 20  27  20  33 – 100

West Virginia State 19  30  16  19 – 84

West Virginia Wesleyan 100

Abi Gabauer 10-12 2-2 24; Symphonie Bryant-Brown 6-12 7-7 20; Brittany Stawovy 4-13 7-9 16; Malaika Kimmons 6-11 1-2 13; Summer Matlack 4-10 3-4 11; Courtney Wilfong 4-5 1-1 10; Ariana Harmon 2-4 0-0 4; Cierra Tolbert 1-4 0-0 2; Imani Jackson 0-1 0-0 0; Amira Layeni 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-72 5-12 100.

West Virginia State 84

Alexis Hall 4-9 5-5 15; Payton Shears 3-6 5-5 13; Shelby Harmeyer 5-9 0-0 12; Charity Shears 4-13 0-0 11; Destiny Fields 4-13 0-0 9; Chloe Cheresne 3-5 1-2 8; Kalia Cunningham 3-7 0-0 6; Hannah Shriver 2-5 0-0 4; Alana Kramer 1-6 0-0 3; Sa’Dera Johnson 1-3 0-0 2; Erin Whitehead 0-2 0-2 0; Madison Riley 0-0 0-0 0; Zakorrah Russell 0-1 0-0 0; Cerena Reeves 0-1 0-0 0; A. Bennington-Horton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-80 11-14 84.

Three-point field goals – West Virginia Wesleyan: Gabauer 2-2; Bryant-Brown 1-1; Wilfong 1-1; Stawovy 1-7; Matlack 0-1. Totals 5-12; West Virginia State: C. Shears 3-9; Hall 2-5; P. Shears 2-5; Harmeyer 2-6; Johnson 1-2; Kramer 1-2; Cheresne 1-3; Fields 1-6; Russell 0-1; Shriver 0-3. Totals 13-42.

Rebounds – West Virginia Wesleyan: Stawovy 10; team 10; Kimmons 8; Matlack 4; Tolbert 4; Bryant-Brown 3; Wilfong 3; Gabauer 3. Totals 45; West Virginia State: Harmeyer 10; Fields 6; Cheresne 5; team 5; P. Shears 4; Reeves 4; Kramer 3; Whitehead 3; C. Shears 1; Cunningham 1; Riley 1. Totals 43.

Assists – West Virginia Wesleyan: Matlack 8; Stawovy 7; Bryant-Brown 1; Wilfong 1; Harmon 1. Totals 18; West Virginia State: Shriver 7; Cunningham 3; C. Shears 1; Kramer 1; P. Shears 1. Totals 13.

Steals – West Virginia Wesleyan: Bryant-Brown 2; Stawovy 1; Kimmons 1; Wilfong 1. Totals 5; West Virginia State: Harmeyer 2; Shriver 2; P. Shears 2; Johnson 2; C. Shears 1; Kramer 1; Cunningham 1; Hall 1. Totals 12.

Blocked shots – West Virginia Wesleyan: Stawovy 2. Totals 2; West Virginia State: Cheresne 1. Totals 1.

Turnovers – West Virginia Wesleyan: 16; West Virginia State: 17.

Personal fouls – West Virginia Wesleyan: 14; West Virginia State: 20.

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