Wheeling, W. Va. - It was a night of celebration inside the Alma Grace McDonough Center as the Wheeling University Women's Basketball team (13-13, 11-9) honored their seniors in their final regular season home game. It was a game that would see some of those seniors take center stage with the Cardinals taking down the Bobcats 72-63. It was a big win for the Cardinals as they broke a five-game losing streak and got some momentum on their side as they head into the final week of the regular season.
Senior Lauren Calhoun would get the night started with a layup, but the Bobcats were persistent and got out to a 5-2 lead over the first two minutes of play. Shanley Woods would quickly tie things up with a three-pointer and a Kenzie Dalton layup almost a minute later had the Cardinals back out in front 7-5. The back and forth would continue between the two teams as the quarter went on, and things were knotted up at 9-9 with 3:15 to go. That is when the Cardinals hit their first run of the day, scoring seven straight points to make it a 16-9 Cardinals lead. Shamia Strayhorn would put in five of those seven points, including a big three-pointer as she was just getting started. By quarter's end, the Cardinals were up 16-11, but the Bobcats were not quite ready to roll over.
They got a layup from Shelby Funchess to start the quarter and would quickly close the gap with a three-pointer that made it 19-16 with 9:10 to go in the first half. They added another layup to get as close as 19-18, before Calhoun hit a jumper to break the run. The Cardinals were back off and running once again as Taylor Cullen hit a three-pointer before Frostburg's Emilee Weakley added a layup to bring the score to 24-20. It would remain that way for the next two minutes before Jacqui Hinesmon broke the stalemate with a layup to bring the score to 26-20. The Bobcats then added six straight points of their own and it was a race to the finish with the game knotted up at 26-26. The lead would change hands three times before the Cardinals found themselves down 30-28 with 2:45 to go. Frostburg State would maintain the lead for the rest of the half and a Strayhorn layup sent the teams in the locker room with Frostburg State leading 38-32.
Coming out for the second half, Calhoun would once again get her offense started with a layup and added another a minute later to cut the Bobcats lead to 39-36. Hinesmon made it a one-point game with a layup, but Frostburg State would put up back-to-back jumpers to make it 43-38 with six minutes to go in the third. That is when. Wheeling hit a run, scoring six straight points to retake the lead at 44-43 with 3:51 to go. Defense rolled the end of the third quarter, with the teams combining for just eight points over the final four minutes. However, Wheeling would enter the third quarter needing to make a comeback as a Graci Fairman 1-2 effort from the free throw line made it a 48-47 Bobcats advantage.
As the Cardinals headed into the fourth, it would be Strayhorn who brought the game back to even with a jumper and two free throws that made it a 51-51 game. After Frostburg got a three-pointer from Maggie Sharp, Strayhorn was back with another free throw and Woods would give the Cardinals the lead with a three that made it 55-54.The teams would then come even at 56-56 and it would be a race to the finish over the final 6:10 of play. Wheeling would create some separation with a 6-0 run that got them out to a 62-56 lead and they pushed it to 64-58 with a pair of Woods free throws. It would be Strayhorn and Calhoun that led Wheeling down the stretch, with each scoring four points during the final stretch and Wheeling went on to win 72-63. It was their first win since the month of January and got momentum on their side heading into the final week of the season.
Leading the way for the Cardinals for the second straight game was Shamia Strayhorn, who got over the 20-point mark for the first time this season with 22 points. She was second on the team with eight rebounds and was 7-8 in free throw percentage. Lauren Calhoun finished right behind her with 18 points and 10 rebounds to pick up her 20th double double of the season. Shanley Woods was the Cardinal's final double digit scorer, finishing with 11 points and led the team with a 2-6 mark from three-point range. As a team, the Cardinals shot 40% from the floor and added a 26.7% mark from three-point range.
The Wheeling University Women's Basketball team returns to action on Wednesday, February 22nd, when they hit the road to face Alderson Broaddus with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 PM.