Strong second half leads Lady Bucs past Liberty, 69-38

Senior Alli Robinson (3) of the Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Bucs drives to the lane past Liberty’s Gracie Dodd (21) during the first quarter of their Big 10 Conference battle Monday night at the high school. Robinson recorded a double-double with 26 points and 11 rebounds to go along with nine steals as she helped lead the Lady Bucs to a 69-38 victory.

Alli Robinson just misses triple-double with 26 points,11 rebounds and nine steals

TENNERTON – With three minutes left in the first half, Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Rob Kittle had seen enough.

With another lethargic first-half for the Lady Bucs coming to a close, Kittle pulled the five starters on the floor and replaced them with the five players on the bench.

Buckhannon-Upshur was leading by a 20-17 score at the time, but underachieving on the court once again following a lack-luster first half just three days ago against Grafton.

The message was received by the Lady Bucs as they went on to outscore Grafton by a 49-21 margin for a 69-38 victory in Big 10 Conference action.

“I am pretty much at a loss for words,” remarked Kittle. “I don’t know why we keep coming out flat. Nothing is working right now. That is something I am going to have to figure out. After the substitution, they decided to play with a little bit of energy and excitement and started communicating on defense. Things we should have been doing at the start of the game. I think they got the message with the substitution and I think they will get it again in our next practice.”

The Lady Bucs continued to struggle from the floor as they shot just 36.5 percent making 27 of their 74 field goals but the defense remained solid as they forced Liberty into 40 turnovers.

“We are going to spend a lot of time in practice working on our shooting,” Kittle stated. “Shots just aren’t falling for us right now. Thankfully the defense is carrying us through.”

Senior Alli Robinson kept the Lady Buc offense going as she just missed a triple double with 26 points, 11 rebounds and nine steals.

“Alli really stepped us for us and carried us when the other shots weren’t falling,” Kittle stated. “That is what we expect from our seniors.”

With the Lady Bucs down 6-4, Robinson made two free throws and Leigh Ann Bennett scored on a lay-up to give the Lady Bucs their first lead, at 8-6.

Following a Liberty 3-pointer, Robinson fired in her own trey and Sydney Fletcher added two free throws as the Lady Bucs took a 12-9 lead into the second quarter.

Liberty scored the first four points of the second quarter to take a 13-12 lead before Robinson took over the game with three straight steals and six consecutive points as she returned the lead back to B-U, at 18-13, with 6:44 left in the second quarter.

Liberty though closed it to three, at 20-17, and that is when Kittle made the five-for-five substitution.

The Lady Bucs responded with a 7-3 run to close the quarter and take a 27-20 lead.

Much like their last game with Grafton, the second half belonged to the Lady Bucs.

Shelby McDaniels scored underneath, Bennett knocked down a baseline jumper and Audrey Gaudet darted inside for a lay-up for a 6-0 run that extended their lead to 33-20.

With the Lady Bucs up 39-24, they went on a 9-0 run with McDaniels scoring a lay-up, Robinson knocking down two free throws and a jumper and Gaudet scoring on a baseline jumper and a two free throws that gave them a 48-24 lead.

Liberty scored the final basket of the third quarter, but the Lady Bucs led 48-26 heading into the final quarter of action.

The Lady Bucs biggest lead of the game was 35, at 67-32, on a short jumper by McKenzie Kittle with 2:01 left in the game.

Liberty ended the game on a 6-2 run.

McDaniels also recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Bennett and Gaudet each scored 10 points.

Maliyah Cottingham led the Liberty Mountaineers with 10 points while Gracie Dodd and Emma Kyle each tallied seven points apiece.

Liberty dropped to 3-7 overall and 0-5 in the Big 10 Conference.

Buckhannon-Upshur won their fourth in a row as they improved their record to 7-4 overall and 4-1 in the Big 10.

The Lady Bucs will wrap up a six-game home stretch Thursday when they host Fairmont Senior Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

They will visit Wheeling Park Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. non-conference game.

The boxscore:

Liberty                       9  11  6  12 – 38

Buck.-Upshur        12  15  21  21 – 69

Liberty 38

Sydney Cunningham 1-5 1-3 3, Maliyah Cottingham 5-17 0-0 10, Gracie Dodd 2-4 2-2 7, Johna Sedlock 1-3 0-0 2, Emma Kyle 3-7 0-0 7, Savana Burk 0-0 0-0 0, Mya Barnes 0-0 0-0 0, Caylee Fulton 0-0 0-0 0, Bailey Kerns 0-1 0-0 0, Mercedes Ray 1-3 1-4 3, Halie Lewis 2-5 2-2 6, Julianna Gallo 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-46 6-11 38.

Buckhannon-Upshur 69

Alli Robinson 9-18 7-10 26, Leigh Ann Bennett 5-13 0-0 10, Audrey Gaudet 3-12 4-6 10, Shelby McDaniels 6-16 1-2 13, McKenzie Kittle 2-8 0-0 4, Sydney Fletcher 1-4 0-0 2, Kassidy Wilfong 0-0 2-8 2, Kennedy Samargo 0-1 0-0 0, Alayna Nesbitt  0-0 0-0 0, Ciara Melton 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 27-74 14-26 69.

Three-point field goals – Liberty: Dodd 1-3, Kyle 1-4, Cottingham 0-1, Gallo 0-1, Ray 0-1. Totals 2-10; Buckhannon-Upshur: Robinson 1-6, Bennett 0-5, Kittle 0-3, McDaniels 0-2. Totals 1-16.

Rebounds – Liberty: Cottingham 11, Kyle 7, Sedlock 6, Lewis 4, Cunningham 1, Gallo 1, Ray 1, team 9, deadball 1. Totals 41; Buckhannon-Upshur: Robinson 11, McDaniels 10, Gaudet 8, Wilfong 7, Bennett 4, Melton 3, Kittle 1, Fletcher 1, Nesbitt 1, team 2, deadball 4. Totals 52.

Assists – Liberty: Dodd 3, Kyle 2, Cunningham 1, Kerns 1, Gallo 1. Totals 8; Buckhannon-Upshur: Gaudet 4, McDaniels 3, Bennett 3, Fletcher 3, Robinson 3, Kittle 2, Wilfong 1, Nesbitt 1. Totals 20.

Steals – Liberty: Dodd 5, Kyle 4, Cunningham 3, Cottingham 1, Gallo 1. Totals 14; Buckhannon-Upshur: Robinson 9, Gaudet 7, McDaniels 5, Bennett 4, Kittle 4, Fletcher 1. Totals 30.

Blocked shots – Liberty: Kyle 2; Buckhannon-Upshur: Robinson 1, Bennett 1, Kittle 1, Gaudet 1. Totals 4.

Personal fouls – Liberty:17; Buckhannon-Upshur: 11.

Turnovers – Liberty: 41; Buckhannon-Upshur: 21.


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