Buckahnnon, W. Va. – As the Calendar flipped to December, the Wheeling University Women's Basketball team (5-1, 3-1) hit the road Saturday to take on West Virginia Wesleyan. The cold weather outside didn't cook off the hot Cardinals offense as they took down the Bobcats 60-51. After battling back and forth the entire game, a 22-point fourth quarter was enough to lift Wheeling to their third conference win of the season.
The Cardinals entered the fourth quarter with a 39-34 lead and hadn't held anything higher than a six-point advantage to that point. Freshman Hannah Archer started the quarter with a three-pointer to make it 42-34, but the Bobcats were right back on the run, scoring the next seven points to make it a one-point game with 6:32 to play. On the next possession, Graci Fairman broke the run with a two and another Archer three gave Wheeling a slight cushion at 47-41. A Fairman free throw would make it 48-41 before a Bobcat jumper brought it back to a five-point game. A Bobcat foul would bring Shanley Woods to the free throw line and she nailed both shots to make it 50-43. As the clock ticked under three minutes to play, Wheeling held a 52-48 advantage and were looking for that big shot.
They would get it courtesy of Woods, who hit a three, her fourth of the day, to make it 55-48 with 2:27 to go. That would spark a 9-2 run by the Cardinals to end the game and give Wheeling their third Mountain East Conference (MEC) win 61-50. During the run, Lauren Calhoun and Carla Torrubia Cano each hit jumpers before Woods finished out the game with a pair of free throws. It would cap off another big day for Woods as she finished with 16 points while going 4-10 from three-point range and 4-4 from the free throw line. Woods had now hit 10 threes in her last two games, going 10-23 (43.4%) from three-point range. The other Cardinal to finish in double figures wasLauren Calhoun, who put up 13 points and had a team-high nine rebounds on the night. Three different Cardinals led the passing game with Kenzie Dalton, Bryana Henderson, and Carla Torrubia Cano each finishing with three assists.
Unlike their other games this season, the Cardinals did not get over the 20-point mark in the first quarter. The offense was clicking early as the Cardinals scored seven of the first nine points to take a 7-2 lead. Calhoun was responsible for four of those points while a Kenzie Dalton three-point play added the other three points. However, West Virginia Wesleyan answered with an identical 7-2 run and the teams sat deadlocked at 9-9 with 4:11 to go in the quarter. A Calhoun Free Throw got the Cardinals back in front, but four straight points gave Wesleyan a 13-10 lead. Calhoun hit a layup with 1:20 to play in the first, but the Cardinals couldn't get back on the board and headed into the second quarter trailing 13-12.
After being held off the board in the first quarter, Woods came out in the second quarter and put Wheeling back in front with a big three-pointer to make it 15-13. Cano added her first bucket of the night to make it 17-13 but once again West Virginia Wesleyan came back to tie the game at 17-17. Cano added another jumper to make it 19-17 Cardinals before both offenses went on a cold spell. For the next two minutes, neither team scored with teo missed three on the Cardinals side and a pair of missed free throws on the Bobcats side. West Virginia Wesleyan broke the cold spell with a jumper and took the lead 21-19 with 2:44 left in the half. Calhoun tied the game with two free throws and back-to-back threes by West Virginia Wesleyan and Wheeling's Archer sent the teams into halftime tied at 24-24.
As the teams came out of the locker room, the back and fort continued as the Bobcats hit a jumper and Woods added a three to make it 27-26. That three would make a difference as the Cardinals would not surrender the lead from their on as they held off the Bobcats offense. Jacqui Hinesmon hit a layup to make it 29-26, but a West Virginia Wesleyan jumper brought it back to a one-point game. Calhoun would then hit a layup that sparked a 7-2 run that gave the Cardinals their biggest lead of the day at 36-30 with 5:32 left in the quarter. The Cardinals would score just three more points in the quarter, courtesy of a Woods three-pointer, but it was enough to hold off West Virginia Wesleyan as they led 39-34 heading into the big fourth quarter.
The Wheeling University Women's Basketball team returns to action on Wednesday, December 7th, when they travel to West Virginia State at 5:30 PM.