Lady ‘Cats beat Fairmont State in MEC tournament opener, 67-55


Upset bid falls short against Charleston in quarterfinals

WHEELING – The West Virginia Wesleyan Lady Bobcats made their presence felt in the 2019 Mountain East Conference Tournament this week as they opened post-season play with an upset over No. 7 Fairmont State, 67-55.

Wesleyan entered the tournament and the last seed at No. 10 and were losers of four of their last five games.

They also lost a nine-point decision to Fairmont State just a week ago.

None of that mattered for head coach Vicky Bullett and her Lady ‘Cats Thursday afternoon as a strong second half allowed them to pull away from the Lady Falcons.

“We came down here hungry,” remarked Bullet. “Our team was tired of losing. This win was a testament to our work ethic. We stepped up in this game and it’s great to see this team get better.”

Wesleyan couldn’t quite keep the momentum going on Thursday as they exited the tournament with a hard-fought 75-69 loss to No. 2 Charleston as their upset bid came up just short.

“We played well,” remarked Bullett about the Charleston game. “You have a top-seeded team in Charleston and the last-seeded team in us. I think the team probably impressed a lot of people today, and above all, me. We played to the final whistle and I am proud of them.”

Against Fairmont State, Summer Matlack started the game off right for Wesleyan with a 3-pointer to get Wesleyan on the scoreboard first.

Wesleyan trailed 10-9 with 4:28 left in the first quarter, but Malaika Kimmons made two free throws and Nicole Gilyard made one foul shot to make it a 12-9 contest at the end of one.

A lay-up by Kimmons pushed the Wesleyan lead to seven with 5:42 left in the half, at 21-14.

A 10-4 Fairmont State ended the half as the Lady Falcons closed the gap to one, at 25-24.

Wesleyan started the second half on a 5-0 run for a 30-24 advantage, but Fairmont State went on a 12-4 run for a 36-34 lead with 4:14 left in the third quarter.

A 3-pointer by Brittany Stawovy closed the third quarter and ended a 9-4 run for Wesleyan as they took a 45-38 lead into the final quarter.

With Wesleyan nursing an eight-point lead, at 51-43, Matlack made a lay-up and Ali Gabauer went inside for two points to extend the lead to 12, at 55-43, with 5:39 remaining.

A trey by Matlack pushed the Wesleyan lead to 16, at 62-46, with 3:22 left.

The closest Fairmont State could get the rest of the way was 11 points.

Gilyard scored a team-high 16 points while Kimmons came off the bench for 10.

Rachel Laskody led Fairmont State with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Fairmont State ended their season with a 13-16 record.

In Thursday’s outing, Wesleyan never led but battled Charleston all the way.

Down 19-10 with 2:29 left in the first quarter, Abi Gabauer knocked down a jumper and Brittany Stawovy canned a 3-pointer to make it a 19-15 contest at the end of the first 10 minutes of action.

A lay-up by Matlack trimmed the Charleston lead down to three, at 26-23, with 5:33 left in the half, but Charleston ended the quarter with a 12-5 run for a 38-28 lead at the half.

Gilyard made a pair of lay-ups, and Gabauer flipped in a jumper as Wesleyan shredded the deficit to four, at 38-34.

Following a Charleston basketball by Raziyah Farrington, Tyra Hughes scored in the paint and Gilyard sliced inside for a lay-up trimming the lead to just two, at 40-38, with 6:06 left in the third quarter.

Charleston went on a 9-2 run to open up a nine-point lead, at 49-40, but Wesleyan whittled it back down to three when Matlack nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, making it a 54-51 contest heading into the final period.

Charleston ended any thoughts of an upset as they came out and scored the first 14 points of the fourth quarter for a 68-51 run.

Wesleyan kept fighting and trimmed it to six on a Szelong trey, at 70-64, with 1:16 left, but they couldn’t get any closer.

“We progressed as the season went on,” concluded Bullett. “That is a good sign. I just like the fact that they have grown as a team.”

Stawovy led the Lady ‘Cats with 15 points while Szelong and Gilyard each had 11.

Brooklyn Pannell had a team-high 18 points.

Charleston improved to 24-5 on the season.

The Lady ‘Cats ended their year with a 7-20 record.

The boxscores:

West Va. Wesleyan                                                                               12  13  20  22 – 67

Fairmont State                                                                                      10  14  14  17 – 55

West Virginia Wesleyan 67

Nicole Gilyard 7-14 2-4 16, Summer Matlack 3-7 1-2 9, Amira Layeni 2-3 4-4 8, Alexa Szelong 2-5 0-0 4, Tyra Hughes 1-4 2-2 4, Malaika Kimmons 4-8 2-2 10, Abi Gabauer 4-6 0-0 8, Brittany Stawovy 2-8 1-2 7, Victoria Jackson 0-6 1-2 1, Cydney Lapczynski 0-2 0-0 0, Mykenzie Martin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-63 13-18 67.

Fairmont State 55

Rachel Laskody 7-15 4-6 18, Brooke Kurucz 5-14 4-6 14, Sierra Kotchman 5-14 0-0 11, Ozge Yarga 2-3 2-2 7, Kamrin Weimer 2-9 0-0 5, Molly Rinevich 0-1 0-0 0, Presley Tuttle 0-2 0-0 0, Gracey Lamm 0-2 0-0 0, Erin Danik 0-1 0-0 0. 21-61 10-14 55.

Three-point field goals – West Virginia Wesleyan: Matlack 2-3, Stawovy 2-6, Hughes 0-1, Lapczynski 0-1. Totals 4-11; Fairmont State: Yarga 1-1, Kotchman 1-6, Weimer 1-6, Tuttle 0-1, Kurucz 0-4. Totals 3-18.

Rebounds – West Virginia Wesleyan: Kimmons 7, Stawovy 7, Gilyard 5, Szelong 4, Matlack 3, Layeni 3, Jackson 3, Hughes 2, Gabauer 2, team 7. Totals 43; Fairmont State: Laskody 13, Kurucz 7, Kotchman 3, Weimer 3, Rinkevich 2, Danik 2, Yarga 1, team 6. Totals 37.

Assists – West Virginia Wesleyan: Hughes 6, Gilyard 2, Jackson 2, Matlack 1. Totals 11; Fairmont State: Laskoy 2, Kurucz 2, Yarga 2, Kotchman 1, Lamm 1. Totals 8.

Steals – West Virginia Wesleyan: Gilyard 1, Matlack 1, Kimmons 1, Stawovy 1, Martin 1. Totals 5; Fairmont State: Laskody 1, Kurucz 1, Tuttle 1. Totals 3.

Blocked shots – West Virginia Wesleyan: Jackson 1. Totals; Fairmont State: Kotchman 1. Totals 1.

Personal fouls – West Virginia Wesleyan: 16; Fairmont State: 17.

Turnovers – West Virginia Wesleyan: 12; Fairmont State: 12; Fairmont State: 13.

Wesleyan                                                                                                15  13  23  18 – 69

Charleston                                                                                            19  19  16  21 – 75

West Virginia Wesleyan 69

Alexa Szelong 5-16 0-0 11, Nicole Gilyard 5-6 1-2 11, Summer Matlack 2-4 2-2 5, Tyra Hughes 1-5 1-3 2, Amira Layeni 0-2 0-0 0, Brittany Stawovy 5-12 2-2 15, Abi Gabauer 5-16 0-0 10, Victoria Jackson 4-8 0-0 8, Malaika Kimmons 2-6 1-2 5, A. Karaivanova 0-2 0-0 0, Mykenzie Martin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-78 4-6 69.

Charleston 75

Brookly Pannell 7-15 1-1 18, Raziyah Farrington 7-17 3-4 17, Anna Hayton 5-6 4-4 14, Gracie Roberts 2-7 6-8 11, Dionna Sanders 0-1 2-2 2, Janesha Johnson 3-6 0-2 7, Rachel Neff 2-4 0-0 4, Aloneet Durden 1-2 0-0 2, Madison Jones 0-1 0-0 0, MacKenzie Loos 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-59 16-21 75.

Three-point field goals – West Virginia Wesleyan: Stawovy 3-7, Matlack 1-1, Szelong 1-7, Gabauer 0-2, Martin 0-2, Hughes 0-3. Totals 5-22; Charleston: Pannell 3-6, Roberts 1-1, Johnson 1-4, Farrington 0-1, Durden 0-1. Totals 5-13.

Rebounds – West Virginia Wesleyan: Szelong 7, Stawovy 6, Gabauer 5, Jackson 5, Kimmons 4, Martin 3, Gilyard 2, Karaivanova 1, team 2. Totals 44; Charleston: Roberts 8, Durden 6, Pannnell 5, Farrington 4, Hayton 4, Sanders 4, Neff 4, Johnson 1, team 2. Total 38.

Assists – West Virginia Wesleyan: Matlack 4, Szelong 3, Stawovy 2, Gabauer 2, Jackson 2, Hughes 1, Kimmons 1, Martin 1. Totals 16; Charleston: Farrington 4, Pannell 3, Roberts 2, Hayton 1, Neff 1. Totals 11.

Steals – West Virginia Wesleyan: Gabauer 2, Szelong 1, Matlack 1, Stawovy 1, Jackson 1, Kimmons 1, Karaivanova 1. Totals 8; Charleston: Pannell 3, Farrington 2, Hayton 1, Sanders 1, Johnson 1, Durden 1. Totals 9.

Blocked shots – West Virginia Wesleyan: Gilyard 1, Matlack 1, Stawovy 1. Totals 3; Charleston: Hayton 4, Durden 2, Pannell 1. Totals 7.

Personal fouls – West Virginia Wesleyan: 16; Charleston: 15.

Turnovers – West Virginia Wesleyan: 15; Charleston: 17.

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© 2019-The Record Delta


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