Upset Bid Comes Up Short for WLU Women
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – Unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Glenville State went 8-for-8 from the line in the final 64 seconds here Wednesday night to spoil a spirited upset bid by a short-handed West Liberty women's basketball team.
Coach Kyle Cooper's Hilltoppers (16-7, 11-6) made a late run at the Pioneers (21-0, 16-0) but the talented visitors didn't blink, closing out a 92-83 verdict with a perfect showing from the charity stripe in crunch time.
"I'm incredibly proud of my girls for fighting through the adversity and giving themselves a chance in the fourth quarter against the only undefeated team in the country," Cooper said, "but hats off to Glenville.
"They're a very talented well-coached team that plays really hard at both ends of the floor. There's a reason they're ranked No. 1 in the country."
Due to injuries, West Liberty had only eight players in uniform and several of them battled foul trouble throughout the night. The Hilltoppers saw two players foul out in the fourth quarter but still found a way to make one last charge.
Senior point guard Audrey Tingle was a one-woman gang for the Black and Gold in a back-and-forth first half that featured 5 ties and 9 lead changes. Tingle poured in 22 of her team-high 26 points in the first 20 minutes and WLU trailed just 49-45 at the half.
Glenville's depth and relentless full-court pressure began to take a toll during the latter stages of the third quarter and the visitors carried a 71-63 lead into the final period.
The Pioneers looked to be about to put the game on ice when Re'Shawna Stone's short jumper pushed the margin to 79-65 with just 6:44 to play but West Liberty's Karly McCutcheon stopped the bleeding with a 3-point bomb and the Black and Gold caught their second wind.
The Hilltoppers ran off 10 of the next 12 points and when Corinne Thomas finished off a curling layup as the clock ticked under 3 minutes, it was a two-possession game at 81-75.
Stone hit a short jumper at the other end as she was fouled and cashed in the free throw to put the Pioneers up, 84-75, with 2:24 to go but West Liberty kept battling.
A Tingle basket followed by a steal and two McCutcheon free throws narrowed the gap to 84-79 with 1:30 remaining but Glenville ran nearly the full 30 seconds off the shot clock before starting its game-clinching parade to the foul line.
The Hilltoppers shot 32-of-56 (57.1 percent) from the floor, 8-of-21 (38.1 percent) from the 3-point arc and 11-of-12 (91.7 percent) from the foul line but couldn't overcome a season-high 30 turnovers against the Pioneer defense.
"The stats do tell the story," Cooper said. "Those 30 turnovers led to Glenville getting 26 more shots than we did and that's tough to overcome."
Tingle finished with 26 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals while McCutcheon added 19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Bailee Smith had 17 points and a game-high 6 assists before fouling out and Arriana Manzay was a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor, finishing with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Stone poured in 18 of her game-high 31 points for the Pioneers in the second half, helped immensely by a 10-for-11 performance at the foul line. Zakiyah Winfield and Dazha Congleton were the only other double-figure scorers for Glenville with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The West Liberty women head south on Saturday for a crucial MEC test at Concord. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. inside the Carter Center.