Tingle Leads WLU Women in Overtime Thriller

Tingle Leads WLU Women in Overtime Thriller

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – Audrey Tingle poured in a career-high 28 points and the West Liberty University women's basketball team defeated Charleston, 78-74, here Wednesday night in a Mountain East Conference overtime thriller inside the ASRC.

   It was the third straight win for Coach Kyle Cooper's Hilltoppers (6-2, 4-1), who scored six straight points in the final 70 seconds of overtime to send the Golden Eagles (4-5, 2-3) away empty-handed.

   Charleston's Clarissa Francis swished a pair of free throws with 7 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime with the score deadlocked at 64.

   As was the case for much of the second half, the 5-minute overtime period was the Audrey Tingle Show.

   The 5-6 fifth-year point guard scored WLU's first six points in the extra frame, capped by a driving layup for a 70-68 Hilltopper lead with 1:49 remaining. Charleston's Markyia McCormick gave the visitors their only lead of the overtime period with a 3-point bomb at 1:27 but the next 60 seconds belonged to the hosts.

   Corinne Thomas put West Liberty ahead to stay, 72-71, with a pair of charity tosses at the 1:10 mark and the Hilltoppers were able to run more clock after forcing a turnover with 49 ticks remaining.

   As the shot clock hit single digits, Tingle once more drove into the paint and tossed up a clutch running hook that dropped through the twine for a 74-71 WLU lead. The scrappy West Liberty defense forced yet another turnover and four straight free throws by Tingle and Grace Faulk salted away another Hilltopper win.

   "I am so proud of the way this team stayed together and fought for each other tonight," Cooper said. "Winning is so hard, especially in tight games against quality opponents, and we haven't got as many of these wins as we'd like the last few years. With a young team like ours, the confidence you gain from executing under pressure down the stretch to get a win like this can be a program changer."

   Tingle, who leads all active NCAA D2 women in career assists, once more checked off a lot of boxes on Wednesday. In addition to her 28 points, she pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds, handed out 5 assists and picked up a couple of steals.

   Twenty of those points and 12 of the rebounds came after halftime - including an eye-popping 10 points during the 5-minute overtime period.

   "My goal for every game is just to respond to what my team needs me to do when they need me to do it in order to win," Tingle said. "Tonight they needed me to be more of a scorer so that's what I did."

   Tingle had plenty of offensive support with three other Hilltoppers hitting double figures. Thomas had a huge game with 15 points – including 3-of-3 from behind the 3-point arc – to go along with 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Karly McCutcheon added a dozen points while Arriana Manzay contributed 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.

   The Golden Eagles knocked down 10 3-pointers on the night but shot just 35 percent (23-of-65) from the floor for the game. McCormick, Francis, Sierra Davis and Dakota Reeves finished with 13 points each while point guard Anastasiia Zakharova added 10 points and 8 rebounds.

   The West Liberty women welcome West Virginia State to the ASRC on Saturday for another crucial MEC test. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.

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