College Men & Women Basketball

McLeod Named to D2CCA All-American Third Team

The Free Press WV

Just one day after GSC’s senior guard Paris McLeod was named to the WBCA All-American Honorable Mention team she now has been named to the 2017-18 D2CCA All-American Third Team, released Tuesday afternoon.

This season she helped lead the Lady Pioneers to a 31-2 overall record while claiming the Mountain East Conference Regular and Tournament Championships as well as a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.

“This is another great accomplishment for Paris, she deserves every bit of recognition she receives. She is a hall of fame type player for Glenville State College. The stats she was able to post this season in just 20 minutes per game are phenomenal,“ stated Lady Pioneer Head Coach Kim Stephens.

Paris, a native of Belleville, Michigan, led her team in scoring, averaging 21.1 points per contest while she was second in the country in steals with 118 on the season. For her efforts this season, McLeod was named the MEC Player of the Year for the second year in a row, while also being named the MEC Tournament MVP. This season she was named to the 2017-18 Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-Atlantic Region Women’s Basketball First Team on March 12 and the WBCA All-American Honorable Mention Team.

McLeod finishes sixth overall in GSC history in scoring with 1,623 points, second in steals with 316 in her career, and eighth in assists with 417.

“Paris’s career as a Pioneer has been nothing short of inspirational and her work ethic has been nothing short of motivational! A well-deserved honor, she should be proud,“ stated GSC’s Vice President for Student Life and Athletics Rusty Vineyard.

“We are very excited for the recognition Paris has received. Her work ethic, effort, and success is emblematic of the philosophy we attempt to instill in all athletes and students here at Glenville,“ added Glenville State College President Dr. Tracy Pellett.

Congratulations to Paris on another outstanding award.

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Lady Pioneers Fall in Second Round of NCAA Tournament to IUP

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The Glenville State Lady Pioneers magical season has come to an end in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday as they fell to the Crimson Hawks of IUP, 88-68.

Glenville State (31-2) shot 29 percent from the field and 29 percent from deep as they hit 10-of-34 three-pointers while IUP (28-3) shot great from the field going 35-of-65 for 53 percent and 31 percent from deep.

The Crimson Hawks jumped out to an early 5-0 lead over GSC but Emily Stoller would drill a three-pointer as she put the Lady Pioneers on the board trailing by two, 5-3.

IUP continued to control the pace as they took a three point lead at the first media timeout of the first quarter, 9-6, with 4:58 to play. Glenville State then went on a 6-2 run as they took their first lead of the game 12-11, as Abby Stoller laid it in, with 3:06 in the quarter.

IUP came right back and knotted it up at 12-12. The Crimson Hawks then jumped to a 16-13 lead but Julie Bishop drilled a three-pointer tying it up at 16-16, the second tie of the game, at the 1:48 minute mark. IUP then outscored GSC in the last 1:48, 5-2, as they held a five point lead after one, 23-18.

The Crimson Hawks started the second on a 6-2 run as they built a nine point lead at 29-20. IUP then went on another run this time outscoring GSC, 13-10, as they held a 14 point lead with 2:59 till halftime.

However GSC made a run of their own outscoring IUP, 9-2, as they cut the Crimson Hawks lead to seven points, 46-39.

Glenville State shot 32 percent from the field in the first half and 41 percent from deep while IUP shot 54 percent from the field and 27 percent from deep.

In the third quarter, Glenville State scored the first four points as the Lady Pioneers pulled within two points at 46-44. However IUP made some separation as they went on a 12-6 run as the Crimson Hawks took a 12 point lead at 58-46 with under five minutes to play in the third.

GSC attempted to cut into IUP’s lead but the Crimson Hawks ended up outscoring the Lady Pioneers 13-11 to end the third. The Crimson Hawks held a 14 point lead with one quarter remaining.

In the fourth, the Lady Pioneers tried to mount a comeback but IUP outscored GSC 17-11 in the quarter. Glenville State would fall in the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament 88-68. The loss also ends the Lady Pioneers 30 game win streak.

Glenville State forced IUP into 20 turnovers and scored 20 points off of them however the Lady Pioneers would turn it over 19 times. The Crimson Hawks had a big advantage on the inside as they outscored the Lady Pioneers 48 to 22 in the paint.

Paris McLeod scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Lady Pioneers while also pulling down six rebounds. Emily Stoller was the only other GSC player in double figures as she scored 19 points going 4-of-10 from deep and grabbing seven rebounds. Kristin DesRocher chipped in with nine points.

IUP was led by Megan Smith as she scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Carolyn Appleby scored 21 points while Lauren Wolosik chipped in with 11 points and six assists.

Glenville State Advances in NCAA Tournament with Victory Over West Chester

The Free Press WV

The Glenville State Lady Pioneers, the No. 2 seed, won their 30th straight game on Friday afternoon as they defeated the No. 7 seed, Golden Rams of West Chester University, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 118-87.

Glenville State (31-1) had all 14 players score and drilled 19 three-pointers while West Chester (23-6) had five players score in double figures but turned it over 19 times.

Paris McLeod started the scoring for Glenville State as she scored the game’s first eight points as the Lady Pioneers held a 10-0 lead early in the first quarter. West Chester answered back as they went on 9-4 run as the Golden Rams pulled within five points at 14-9 with 6:08 to play.

GSC then went on to outscore West Chester, 17-9 to end the first quarter as the Lady Pioneers held a 12 point lead at the end of one, 33-21.

In the second quarter, the onslaught would continue as GSC stretched their lead to 21 points at the 7:02 minute mark, 44-23. Glenville State eventually went on to outscore West Chester 32-11 in the second as they took a commanding 33 point lead at halftime, 65-32.

The Lady Pioneers drilled 10 three-pointers in the first half and forced West Chester into 13 turnovers.

West Chester started the third on a 9-2 run but GSC’s Julie Bishop would end the run as she nailed a three-pointer making it 71-41 at the 6:55 minute mark. Again GSC went on to outscore the Golden Rams in the third, 32-29 as they took a 36 point lead into the fourth.

In the fourth, West Chester would outscore Glenville State, 26-21, in the quarter but the deficit was too large as the Lady Pioneers defeated the Golden Rams, 118-87.

The win was the first NCAA Tournament win for GSC since 2012-13, which came against Shaw University when Kim Stephens was an assistant at Glenville. The 118 points scored by GSC is also the most points West Chester has ever given up.

Glenville State shot 47 percent from the field and shot 39 percent from deep as they drilled 19 three-pointers while West Chester shot 40 percent from the floor and 24 percent from deep.

The Lady Pioneers won the rebounding battle by one, 48-47 but the Golden Rams outscored GSC in the paint 50-36.

Glenville State’s defense forced 19 turnovers and scored 20 points off of them.

Paris McLeod scored a game-high 27 points to lead GSC while dishing out seven assists and grabbing six rebounds. Kristin DesRocher scored 20 points, netting five three-pointers, while dishing out four assists. Bhrea Griffin chipped in with 18 points while Tayana Stewart and Emily Stoller each added 10 points apiece.

West Chester was led by Mia Hopkins as she posted a double-double scoring 22 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Camden Boehner chipped in with 14 points for WCU.

Glenville State (31-1) will now take on the No. 3 seed IUP Crimson Hawks tomorrow Saturday, March 10th. Tip-off is set for 5:00 p.m. from inside Barco-Stevens Hall on the campus of Virginia Union University.

Glenville State Holds Off Notre Dame To Win MEC Women’s Tournament Title

The Free Press WV

Glenville State 81, Notre Dame 77

Earlier this week Glenville State’s Paris McLeod was named the Mountain East Conference’s Player of the Year.

Sunday afternoon she showed why as she capped off a fantastic week capturing Most Valuable Player honors for the Mountain East Conference Tournament after leading top-seeded and regular-season champion Glenville State to the tourney title with an 81-77 victory over second-seeded Notre Dame here at the Charleston Civic Center.

The win was the 29th in a row for the Pioneers who improved to 30-1 and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional which will begin play Friday at a site to be determined late Sunday evening.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, dropped to 23-9 with the loss. The Falcons were ranked 10th in the latest Atlantic Regional Rankings and will wait and see if they accomplished enough this week to earn an at-large bid to the national tournament.

McLeod, who averaged a tournament-high 28.0 points a contest in GSC’s three victories, came up huge again for her team with the game on the line. She scored all six points herself on a quick 6-2 spurt by the Pioneers during a 1:14 span to give Glenville a 78-73 lead with just 1:05 to play that the Falcons couldn’t overcome.

“Give credit to my teammates,” said McLeod, a senior guard who finished with a game-high 23 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals. “They’re always picking me up and encouraging me. Even when I miss a shot they’ll tell me ‘You got this P.‘ They just give me a lot of confidence and I play off of that.

“This championship feels great. We’ve made some early exits the last few years so to get it done in my senior year is special.”

The MEC Tournament title is the second for the Pioneers, who won the league’s inaugural tournament in 2014. It’s the first for second-year coach Kim Stephens, who won a West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship as a player at Glenville State.

“Notre Dame is a great team,” Stephens said. “We were up by 13 early and they never once quit. They have what it takes to get back in the game. I have a lot of respect for that team and program.

“Am I happy with the way we played today? No. Do I need to let it go and enjoy the day? Yes. It’s done. This is special. What this team has accomplished is special. They’re a truly great group to have and hopefully we’ve got a few more ball games this season.”

Glenville came out on fire Sunday afternoon. The Pioneers used a barrage of 3-point field goals midway through the first quarter and early in the second to open a 31-18 lead with 8:36 left in the first half.
However, Notre Dame, which opened the game going 1-of-11 from 3-point range in the first 15:10, regrouped and began to attack Glenville inside with success in the second quarter. The result was a 16-2 run by the Falcons which wiped out the Pioneers’ 13-point lead and gave Notre Dame a 34-33 advantage with 3:10 left in the quarter.

“We’re a transition team and we weren’t going to stop playing that way, but we were settling and only getting one shot,” Notre Dame senior forward Kim Cook, who recorded her 12th double-double of the year finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds, said. “We had to play defense basically the whole first quarter and early in the second, but then we started attacking them and we’re a team which feeds off of each other. Once we got that run and got back in it we knew we had to keep the pressure on them.”

McLeod, however, helped her team end the Falcons’ rally and finish the half on an 8-2 run itself to take a 41-36 lead at the break. She scored six of the Pioneers’ final eight points of the second quarter.

“She’s the heart of their team,” Notre Dame first-year coach Lauren Macer said. “Most basketball players feed off of one another. She’s the calming sense for them. She got herself to the line 17 times today and for her to do that and allow them to reset and adjust was huge. She also finished some hard shots late in the game that we contested. She’s just the central part of their team.”

Glenville only shot 36.1 percent from the field (26-of-72) in the win, including a 9-of-41 showing from 3-point range. The Pioneers also got out-rebounded, 51-47, but were able to offset that by forcing 23 Notre Dame turnovers that they turned into 31 points.

“This title means absolutely everything to us,” GSC senior guard Kristin DesRocher, who finished with 17 points and six rebounds, said. “We’ve worked incredibly hard this year. Coach Kim has pushed us to our limits every practice and it’s made us better as individuals and as a team overall. When you have eight seniors this is a perfect way for our year to end. I’m proud to be on this team and really happy I chose Glenville.”

The only other Pioneer to finish in double figures in scoring Sunday was junior guard/forward Courtney Davis, who ended up with 11 points and six rebounds.

In addition to Cook’s double-double outing, the Falcons got 17 points, six rebounds and four assists from Seina Adachi, 13 points and seven boards from Katie Karalic, 11 points and nine rebounds from Madison Snider and 10 points and nine rebounds from Abi Oriti.

“My team definitely played with heart against a very good Glenville team,” Macer said. “Glenville is a powerhouse in our league. We knew it was going to be a challenge for us because they play different than anyone we’ve faced. I’m just proud of my team for stepping up.”

The MEC All-Tournament Team included Glenville State’s McLeod and Emily Stoller, Notre Dame’s Cook and Adachi, Fairmont State’s Kelli Jo Harrison and Sierra Kotchman, Shepherd’s Morgan Arden and Concord’s Riley Fitzwater. Notre Dame’s Cook was presented with the Commissioner’s Heart and Hustle Award, while Fairmont State’s Harrison was honored with the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award.

MEC All-Tournament Team

Morgan Arden, Shepherd

Riley Fitzwater, Concord

Sierra Kotchman, Fairmont State

Kelli Jo Harrison, Fairmont State

Kim Cook, Notre Dame

Seina Adachi, Notre Dame

Emily Stoller, Glenville State

MVP-Paris McLeod, Glenville State

Highest Scoring Average: Paris McLeod, Glenville State (28.0)

Sportsmanship Award: Kelli Jo Harrison, Fairmont State

Commissioner’s Heart & Hustle Award: Kim Cook, Notre Dame

Wheeling Jesuit Tops Charleston For MEC Tournament Title

The Free Press WV

Wheeling Jesuit 80, Charleston 65

In its fifth season of existence, the Mountain East Conference has its fifth different men’s basketball tournament champion.

Wheeling Jesuit went on a 9-2 run over a three-minute span late in the second half to salt away an 80-65 victory over No. 5 Charleston in the tourney championship on Sunday afternoon at the Charleston Civic Center, marking the third time the second seed has won the title.

Also, for the fifth consecutive year, the top seed failed to win the tournament. In fact, only twice has the top seed played in the championship game: West Liberty (2014) and Fairmont (2017).

Wheeling Jesuit (26-5), which was coming off three consecutive seasons of semifinal round elimination, earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament. The tournament selection show is set for 10:30 p.m. Sunday night during which the host and seeds will be announced. The top eight teams in the region will continue postseason play, with West Liberty expected to join Wheeling Jesuit in the Atlantic Region Tournament.

“I said all week that we have a good team,” Wheeling Jesuit coach Danny Sancomb said. “I’m so proud of the guys.”

The Golden Eagles (18-13), winners of the inaugural MEC Tournament in 2014, scored the first four points. When Brent Pegram hit the second of his record-setting five 3-pointers to give Wheeling Jesuit a 6-4 lead, the Cardinals didn’t trail again.

“It takes the right player to play in our program,” Sancomb said. “Guys like Brent had to come in at 6 in the morning to hear me yell and scream and running wind sprints.”

Pegram was 5-of-7 from 3-point range tying him with Notre Dame’s Tyree Gaiter for the most 3-pointers in the MEC title game. Gaiter had five against Concord in 2016.

Pegram, a freshman from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, joined teammates Haywood Highsmith and Preston Boswell as players who didn’t leave the court.

He averaged 22.1 minutes per game in the regular season. On Sunday, Pegram (29) and Highsmith (31) combined for 60 points as their team’s only double-figure scorers. Wheeling Jesuit played the tournament without first-team all-MEC player Pat Moseh, and guard Drake Goddard, who averaged 22.9 minutes per game, went down hard with 11:53 remaining, hitting his head on the floor.

Coach Sancomb was unsure of his condition, but Goddard was helped off the floor slowly by a trainer and teammate Ryan Cooper.

Pegram picked up the slack, hitting eight of his 10 total field goal attempts, five of his seven 3-point attempts and eight of his nine free throws.

“I think they were more physical today,” Charleston coach Dwaine Osborne said. “They were quicker to the ball and I thought they absolutely dominated the glass. How do you identify toughness?

“People think about it as physical toughness, but it’s more than that: there’s mental toughness and you look at your ability to execute, handle pressure, handle your emotions … those are toughness things … your ability to do what is asked of you and do it well. I don’t think we were very tough today, including myself.”

The Golden Eagles were led by Keir Anderson (18 points), Austin Howard (14), and Seth O’Neal (12).

Highsmith had his 28th double-double of the season, adding 11 rebounds to his game-high scoring total.

Wheeling Jesuit hit eight of its 17 3-point attempts in the first half, then was 2-of-7 in the second half. The Cardinals also took advantage of their free throw opportunities, hitting 18-of-22 for the game, including 16-of-19 in the critical second half. Charleston was 15-of-18 from the line in the second half.

The record-setting day featured 20 team or individual MEC Tournament championship game records broken or tied.

2018 MEC All-Tournament Team

Tommy Bolte, Concord

Pat Johnson-Agwu, West Virginia State

Dan Monteroso, West Liberty

Lamont McManus, Charleston

Keir Anderson, Charleston

Preston Boswell, Wheeling Jesuit

Brent Pegram, Wheeling Jesuit

MVP-Haywood Highsmith, Wheeling Jesuit

Highest Scoring Average: Tommy Bolte, Concord (39.5 ppg)

Sportsmanship Award: Taiwo Badmus, UVa-Wise

Commissioner’s Heart & Hustle Award: Tommy Bolte, Concord

MEC Men’s Basketball Semifinals Recap

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Charleston 95, West Liberty 93

Undaunted, unfazed, and untouched, the University of Charleston men’s basketball team turned away high-powered West Liberty for the second time in as many chances at the Mountain East Conference Tournament.

Senior Austin Howard hit a pair of free throws with 8.8 seconds left in overtime, completing a comeback from 23 points to shock the Hilltoppers 95-93 at the Charleston Civic Center on Friday night.

The Golden Eagles advance to Sunday’s 3:30 p.m. tournament championship game against the winner of Saturday’s late semifinal between Wheeling and Concord.

Charleston (18-12) has not beaten West Liberty in an MEC regular season since the league debuted in 2013, but the Eagles handed the Hilltoppers a 63-60 defeat in the tournament championship game that season.

That was the last time the teams met in the tourney.

“Maybe we should just tell them we’ll play tournament games all the time,” UC Coach Dwaine Osborne said. “We talked about that, being the last time we played West Liberty in the tournament. They were averaging 100 points per game and we beat them 63-60. Three or four weeks before that we lost 103-71. It just goes to show that if you have some resiliency and toughness, you can figure it out.”

West Liberty (26-2) hadn’t missed a beat under first-year coach Ben Howlett since he took over for Jim Crutchfield. Crutchfield took over the struggling program at Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, leaving behind a legacy as the winningest coach in NCAA history with at least 10 years of service.

Still, his Hilltoppers had not won the MEC Tournament until last season, and they won’t this season.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Howlett said. “I haven’t been a part of too many losses … it’s 21 now, to be exact.”

Charleston’s motivation was that a loss meant no postseason beyond this week. West Liberty, the No. 2 team in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region and eighth in the NABC Top 25, will receive a bid in the regional.
West Liberty came out firing and pushed out to a 50-27 lead with 3:04 remaining in the first half.

Very little was going right for the Golden Eagles.

“It didn’t look very good,” Osborne said. “We weren’t able to get stops or finish possessions. When we did get stops, it seemed they got an offensive rebound. Seth (O’Neal) gave us a huge lift. We were down 24-12 and then get get another point (when video confirmed an O’Neal 3-pointer for the half’s last bucket). Then we had 20 minutes to erase an 11-point deficit.”

Howlett took the heat for the loss, lamenting some lineup changes late in the first half.

“I was thinking this game is going the way we want it to this point, so I thought I would put some guys in and get them some time,” Howlett said. “I got a little crazy there with substitutions late in the first half and that’s when they made their run.”

Charleston finally eliminated any deficit when a Kier Anderson – who had a game-high 30 points – scored to give UC a one-point lead with 5:09 remaining.

There were four more lead changes to come.

Following a Dan Monteroso free throw to give West Liberty an 86-83 at the 40-second mark. Eighteen seconds later, Anderson hit the fifth of his seven 3-point attempts to tie the score.

In overtime, Charleston freshman Lamont McManus missed a pair of free throws with 40 seconds on the clock. He was 8-of-11 from the floor and finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

“I just had the flow of the game,” McManus said. “I get in foul trouble a lot. They take a lot of charges on me and I had to be real decisive. If I don’t see help coming, I take it to the basket. If there’s help, that’s when I kick it out.”

Howard picked him up with two free throws sandwiching a West Liberty timeout with nine seconds left.

West Liberty senior Jordan Watson, a transfer from Lincoln University, misfired on a 3-pointer with three seconds left.

O’Neal had 15 points and seven assists to help the Golden Eagles, while Jordan Smith added 11.

Monteroso had 29 points to lead the way for West Liberty, and freshman Dalton Bolon finished with 23. Brandon Smith added 18 for the Hilltoppers.

Wheeling Jesuit 83, Concord 69

Second-seeded Wheeling Jesuit quickly erased a four-point halftime deficit by opening the final half with a 17-2 run in the first 4:14 and as a result cruised to an 83-69 victory over sixth-seeded Concord in the semifinals of the Mountain East Conference Tournament here Saturday evening at the Charleston Civic Center.

The win was the eighth in a row for the Cardinals who improved to 25-5 and earned the right to play for their first-ever MEC Tournament title. WJU was eliminated in the semifinals the last three seasons.

Wheeling will square off Sunday at 3:45 p.m. with fifth-seeded University of Charleston (18-12) which eliminated top-seeded West Liberty Saturday evening, 95-93, in overtime.

“It’s always nice to get to the championship,” veteran Wheeling Jesuit coach Danny Sancomb said. “We’ve lost some tough semifinal games in this tournament, so we’re happy to be here, but we want to finish the job.
Cardinal senior forward and MEC Player of the Year Haywood Highsmith, who posted his conference-leading 27th double-double performance of the season inSaturday’s win with 22 points and 13 rebounds, agrees.

“This chance means a lot to me,” Highsmith said. “A lot of seniors don’t get the opportunity to play for a title. I’ve never won one so it’s cool to be in the championship game, but the plan is to win it. We came down here to get three. We’ve gotten two so far. We’ve just got to get the next one. It would mean a lot to me as a senior to get a championship for my team.”

Trailing 41-37 at the break, WJU started the second half like a team on a mission. Back-to-back 3-point field goals by Brent Pegram and Drake Goddard started the game-changing 17-2 spurt which gave the Cardinals a 54-43 lead it never relinquished. Concord, which made just one field goal in the first 10 minutes of the second half, got within eight twice in the final 14 minutes but could never get any closer.

“They started to gain some confidence there,” Concord junior guard Tommy Bolte said. “We were sitting in our zone and they hit a couple of threes and it really got them going. We were never really able to bounce back from that. I think that run right there really decided the game.”

Concord, which shot close to 50 percent in the opening half, cooled off considerably in the final 20 minutes and connected on just 9-of-26 field goal attempts.

“It was difficult for us early because they came out extremely hot and made a lot of threes, including a couple that they banked in,” Sancomb said. “We trusted the process, though, and continued to play our game. I think our will on the glass was very important and our defense, which is who we are. In a league that is all about scoring we are all about playing great defense and in the second half we were able to really lock in, make things difficult for them and limit them to one shot.”

Wheeling overcame a subpar shooting performance itself (25-of-64, 39.1 percent) by dominating Concord on the glass. The Cardinals held a 49-29 edge on the backboards, including a 20-5 advantage on the offensive glass.

“I thought our team did a really good job of executing our game plan and what we had hoped to get done on the defensive end,” Concord coach Todd May said. “A team as good as Wheeling Jesuit is, to hold them to 39 percent shooting and 36 percent from three is good, but we just weren’t able to rebound at the level we needed to and all the credit goes to them on that. They’re extremely athletic, extremely big and they kind of punched us on that.

“I’m extremely proud of my team, though. No one expected us to be here, but they showed a lot of toughness and grit throughout the year.”

Preston Boswell led Wheeling Jesuit in scoring with 23 points and seven rebounds. The Cardinals also got 21 points and four assists from Pegram.

Bolte, who had an MEC Tournament game record 51 points Friday in the Mountain Lions’ quarterfinal round win over Fairmont State, finished with 28 points and seven assists Saturday evening to pace Concord. B.J. Hamlet added 12 points, all of which came in the game’s first 5:20.

Wheeling Jesuit won both of its regular season meetings with Charleston, but both were close contests. The Cardinals claimed a 90-87 victory in overtime in Charleston on January 04 and then won, 75-69, in Wheeling on February 08. That victory started WJU’s current eight-game winning streak.

MEC Women’s Basketball Tournament Semifinals Recap

The Free Press WV

Glenville State 83, Fairmont State 69

When the Glenville State University women’s basketball team last played for a conference championship, Kim Stephens was completing her first season as an assistant coach, 2,500 miles away, at Sacramento State University in California.

Since that 2013-14 season Glenville—one of the dominant programs in the Mountain East Conference and prior to that in the West Virginia Conference—was finding ways to come up short in the postseason.

This season, Stephens’ second as head coach at her alma mater, the Pioneers are leaving little doubt.

Conference Player of the Year Paris McLeod scored 23 points and Glenville State closed the first period on a 15-2 run to earn its first MEC championship game since the league’s inaugural season in an 83-69 victory over Fairmont State (16-14) on Saturday at the Charleston Civic Center.

The Pioneers will face the winner of Saturday’s Notre Dame-West Virginia State semifinal at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Glenville seeks its first tournament title since 2014 and is hoping to become the league’s second two-time tourney champion. Wheeling Jesuit won the tournament championship in 2016 and 2017.

“A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to ever play in a championship game,” said Stephens, a 2011 graduate of Glenville State and an alum of Parkersburg South, where she played for her father Scott from 2003-07. “Our goal is to win it. That’s been our goal since day one. I want it so badly for this team. I want them to be able to experience it.”

The Pioneers (29-1), third in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region and fifth in the national coaches’ poll, found themselves in a battle early when a Rachel Laskody basket resulted in the game’s third lead change and a 13-12 Fairmont advantage.

Senior guard Julie Bishop answered with Glenville’s first 3-pointer of the game for the final lead change. Fairmont didn’t score for the next 3:45 on a basket by MEC Freshman of the Year Sierra Kotchman.

“This game was a game,” said Fairmont State coach Steve McDonald, whose Falcons lost to Glenville by an average of almost 30 points in their first two meetings this season. “This was not a show up where the game’s over in the first five minutes or the first quarter. We were down 15 at the half and we lost by 14.

“They have a very good team, but this is a day I think we could have gotten them.”

Glenville kept up the pressure, extending its lead to 58-38 with 5:25 remaining in the third period, but the lead was back down to 14 two minutes later before another Bishop 3-pointer pushed the advantage back to 17.

Despite 23 turnovers, Stephens said the Falcons “had to have played very close to their game plan.

“That team has improved tremendously since the last time we played them. They’re well coached, play incredibly hard and are going to be very scary in the future.

Fairmont cut down their miscues by five since that 90-60 loss at home to the Pioneers on January 17.

They received a team-high 21 points from Kotchman, who added seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Senior Kelli Jo Harrison had 17 points, nine rebounds, and four assists in her final game at Fairmont State.

McLeod’s 23 led all scorers for the Pioneers. Emily Stoller’s 15 points helped Glenville, which used 13 players, 10 of whom played at least 15 minutes each. Kristin DesRocher had 10 points for the Pioneers.

Notre Dame 66, Glenville State 56

Second-seeded Notre Dame College suffered a pair of crucial losses early on here Saturday afternoon in the Mountain East Conference semifinals at the Charleston Civic Center, but it didn’t keep the resilient Falcons from recording a 66-56 victory over third-seeded West Virginia State.

The win, Notre Dame’s seventh in a row, improved the Falcons to 23-8 and puts them in Sunday’s 1 p.m. MEC Championship game against top-seeded and No. 5 ranked Glenville State. The 29-1 Pioneers eliminated fifth-seeded Fairmont State in Saturday’s other semifinal, 83-69.

It will be the second championship game appearance for both Glenville State and Notre Dame. The Pioneers won the inaugural MEC Tournament as the No. 1 seed in 2014 with a 74-50 victory over Charleston. Notre Dame, on the other hand, lost the 2015 championship game as the No. 6 seed, 76-55, to top-seeded West Liberty.

The Falcons faced adversity early Saturday as in a span of just 2:25 late in the opening quarter they lost both starting guard Marisa Finazzo and then backup guard Mackenzie Meckes to what looked to be severe knee injuries. Finazzo was the team’s assist leader, third-leading scorer (11.8) and played over 28 minutes a game, while Meckes played over 13 minutes a contest and averaged 4.8 points per outing.

“The extent of their injuries haven’t been confirmed yet. They’re still being evaluated, but we definitely knew they weren’t going to be able to finish the game today,” first-year NDC coach Lauren Macer said. “It’s nice our girls were able to come together. I thought it was great they were able to talk to each other, keep each other up and they did good jobs of refocusing on the game and on what we needed to do each time there was a dead ball or timeout.”

Senior forward Kim Cook, who posted her 11th double-double of the season finishing with a game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds, says dealing with adversity is nothing new for the Falcons.

“Adversity is something as a team that we’ve really faced this season,” Cook said. “Before the season Jessie (Stout) got hurt and we were like ‘Oh no what are we going to do?‘ Then we found a way to get our mojo back without her and Maggie (King) got hurt during the season so we had to re-group again.

“We’ve been in those positions before. We’re such a close-knit team that if one of our players is not able to be out there we want to do it for them. We wanted to win this game so bad for them (Marisa and Mackenzie). They’re both such big parts of this team. I told Marisa we’re going to win this game for you.”

Notre Dame took the lead early and never relinquished it. The Falcons shot the ball well (43.1 percent from the field), rebounded it better (plus 13 on the glass) and answered every challenge the Yellow Jackets had to offer.

State, on the other hand, struggled all afternoon shooting. The Yellow Jackets finished just 18-of-64 from the field (28.1 percent), including a 9-of-36 (25.0 percent) showing from 3-point range.

“It was a tough day for us,” State coach Charles Marshall said. “This group fought, competed and did everything that I’ve asked, but today our shots just didn’t fall. When you shoot 28 percent from the field it’s going to be tough to win any game.

“I thought we had great intensity on the defensive end. We held them under their average for the year from a points standpoint, but we got outrebounded. We forced them to have 24 turnovers, so defense wasn’t the problem. We had opportunities. We just didn’t have looks at the basket and when we did we were hesitant because our shots weren’t falling early. That’s basketball. It’s March Madness and anything can happen. We came in playing good ball and our girls gave us a chance to get to the championship, but we just came up short.”

Notre Dame led 20-14 after one quarter and extended it to 37-27 at the half. The Falcons pushed the lead to 14 early in the third before State rallied to cut it to eight late in the period. However, NDC’s Seina Adachi nailed a 3-pointer in the waning seconds to push the margin back to 11 heading to the fourth.

In the final 10 minutes the Yellow Jackets again got the deficit to eight early, but a quick 6-0 spurt by the Falcons extended it back to 14 with 5:54 to play and it never got below double digits again.

“It was very frustrating because we couldn’t gain any ground on them,” State’s Anna Ross said. “Like coach said we weren’t knocking down shots and when you don’t do that it’s tough to come back.”

Cook, who also had a season-high four blocked shots in the win, was joined in double figures for Notre Dame by Adachi, who finished with 17 points and Kyleigh Ramlow, who contributed 10.

Ross and Jordan led the Yellow Jackets with 13 points apiece. Alexandra Jackson finished with 12 points, four assists and three steals.

Notre Dame lost both regular-season meetings to Glenville State. The Pioneers won 84-69 in Glenville on Jan. 4and claimed a hard-fought 88-84 victory on the Falcons’ home court on February 08. Since the February 08 setback Notre Dame has won seven straight. GSC comes into Sunday’s title game riding a 28-game winning streak.

Glenville State Dominates Fairmont State, Advances to MEC Championship Game

The Free Press WV

The Glenville State Lady Pioneers defeated Fairmont State University as they claimed their 28th straight victory and punched their ticket to the MEC Tournament Championship game.

Glenville State (29-1) netted nine three-pointers and 10 players score while Fairmont State (16-14) went just 4-of-13 from deep and had two players in double figures.

GSC’s Paris McLeod started right where she left off on Thursday as she scored the first two points of the ball game. But after those two points FSU went on a 6-0 run as they took a 6-2 lead. GSC later tied the game up at 6-6. The Lady Pioneers held just a three point lead at the first media timeout with 4:46 to play.

After the media timeout the Lady Pioneers went on an 8-0 run to take 20-13 lead over the Falcons.  Glenville State made some separation to end the first quarter as they went on a 12-2 run as they held a 12 point lead after one, 27-15.

In the second, both teams would start out slow however GSC would manage to stretch their lead to 19 points at the 6:04 minute mark, 38-19. Fairmont proceeded to make a small run and cut the deficit to 13 points with 47 seconds left but Paris McLeod would hit two free-throws as the Lady Pioneers went into halftime with up 44-29.

Glenville State’s defense forced FSU into 14 turnovers in the first half of action.

In the third, FSU made a small 5-0 run as they made it 54-38 but GSC bounced back and stretched their lead to 21 at 61-40 with 4:08 to play in the quarter. Again the Falcons made another run as Sierra Kotchman hit back-to-back three’s for FSU, cutting the Lady Pioneers lead to 13 points 63-50. Glenville State ended up taking a 69-52 lead into the fourth.

Fairmont would try and make a comeback in the fourth and even outscored GSC 17-14 in the quarter. However, the deficit was just too much to overcome as Glenville State picked up the 83-69 win and advance to the MEC Tournament Championship Game on Sunday.

Glenville State finished the day shooting 41 percent from the field and 22 percent from deep while Fairmont State shot 44 percent from the field and 30 percent from deep.

The Lady Pioneers scored 21 points off of 23 Falcon turnovers while also outscoring them in the paint 44-34.

GSC’s bench scored 32 point while FSU had 17 points from their bench.

Glenville State’s Paris McLeod scored a game-high 23 points while grabbing seven rebounds, four assists and five steals. Emily Stoller registered 15 points while Kristin DesRocher chipped in with 10 points.

Fairmont was led by freshman Sierra Kotchman as she poured in 21 points and seven rebounds. Kelli Jo Harris chipped in with 17 points and nine boards.

Glenville State (29-1) will now take on the winner of the #2 Notre Dame / #3 West Virginia State in the MEC Tournament Championship on Sunday, March 4th at 1:00 p.m. from the Charleston Civic Center. It will be first Tournament Championship game for the Lady Pioneers since winning it back in 2013-14, the inaugural year of the MEC.

Lady Pioneers Advance to MEC Semifinals with Victory Over Shepherd

The Free Press WV

The Glenville State Lady Pioneers defeated the Rams of Shepherd University on Thursday evening in the MEC Tournament Quarterfinals as they won their 27th straight, 107-76.

Glenville State (28-1) had four players in double figures and scored 14 fast break points while Shepherd (15-15) had just two players score in double figures.

Paris McLeod scored the first four points of the contest as she put the Lady Pioneers up early in their quarterfinal matchup with the Rams, 4-0. Shepherd, however responded and tied the game up at the 8:12 minute mark at 6-6.

Glenville State then went on 14-2 run as they took a 10 point lead at the 4:40 minute mark at 20-10. In the run by GSC, Paris McLeod netted a three-pointer as she scored her 1,500 career point as a Lady Pioneer.

Shepherd would make small run however the Lady Pioneers managed to hold a 10 point lead at 24-14. The Rams then went on a 6-0 run as they cut GSC’s 10 point lead to just four, 24-20. At the end of one Glenville State held a 27-22 lead over Shepherd.

In the second quarter the Rams battled back and again cut GSC’s lead to just four at, 37-33 with 5:40 till halftime. Shepherd outscored the Lady Pioneers 14-11 to end the half as Glenville State took a two point lead at the break, 49-47.

Shepherd tied the game up at 49 all early in the third quarter however after the tie the Lady Pioneers exploded on the offensive end as they went on a 10-0 run to take 10 point lead, 59-49 with 7:03 to play in the quarter.

The Rams continued to battle back and cut the deficit to five points at the 5:53 minute mark at 59-54. But the Lady Pioneers answered right back as they went on an 11-0 run as they built a 16 point lead at 70-54 with 3:03 to play. Glenville State ended up taking a 14 point lead into the fourth, 79-65.

In the fourth quarter it was all GSC as they outscored the Rams 28-11 in the quarter as they went on to win by 31 points, 107-76 and advance to the MEC Semifinals on Saturday.

Glenville State shot 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from deep while Shepherd shot 47 percent from the floor and just 18 percent from deep.

The Lady Pioneers defense forced 26 turnovers and converted them into 30 points. Head Coach Kim Stephens also earned her first career MEC Tournament victory.

Paris McLeod had herself a night as she scored a game high 38 points to go along with eight rebounds and four assists. The 38 points broke the MEC Tournament Single Game Record which was set by GSC’s Keyanna Tate (37 points) back in 2015.

Tayana Stewart scored 16 points while Abby Stoller chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds. Bhrea Griffin registered 10 points and four assist in the win.

Shepherd was led by Morgan Arden as she scored 25 points.

Glenville State (28-1) now advances to the MEC Tournament Semifinals on Saturday, March 3rd at 12:00 p.m. and will take on the No. 5 seed Fairmont State.

Pioneers Fall in Overtime in MEC Tournament

The Free Press WV

The Glenville State Pioneers season came to an end on Wednesday night as they lost a hard fought battle in overtime to the Cavaliers of UVa-Wise in the first round of the MEC Tournament, 89-83.

Glenville State (8-21) shot just 22 percent from deep hitting just 8-of-36 while UVa-Wise (14-15) finished the night shooting 45 percent from deep drilling 14-of-31 three-pointers.

In the first half, Darhius Nunn would net the first two points of the ballgame as he drilled two early free-throws. After that both team would go back and forth. The Cavaliers took their first lead of the game at 5-4.

Theo Brown provided a spark off of the bench as he converted a three-point play as the Pioneers took a four point lead at the 15:50 minute mark, 9-5. The Cavaliers answered back and would end up leading GSC 11-10 at the first media timeout.

Glenville State and UVa-Wise ended up all tied up at 21 all at the 10:42 minute mark. But after that tie the Cavaliers went on a 2:46 scoring drought but the Pioneers only led by four, 25-21 with 8:19 to play.

However after that drought the Cavaliers then went on a 9-0 run, hitting back-to-back three-pointers in that stretch, as the Cavaliers led the Pioneers by five 30-25. UVa-Wise then stretched their lead to seven over GSC at 36-29 with just 2:11 till halftime.

Glenville State scored the last five points of the half as they pulled within two points as they trailed UVa-Wise 36-34. Glenville State in the first half shot 41 percent from the field but went just 3-of-14 from deep for 21 percent while UVa-Wise shot 37 percent from the field and shot 43 percent from deep nailing 7-of-15 three-pointers.

UVa-Wise started the second half on a 10-2 run as they built a 10 point lead over the Pioneers at 46-36. Brooks Ely then cut it to seven, 46-39, as he netted a huge three-pointer. But the Cavaliers answered right back as they took an 11 point lead at the 14:44 media timeout, 52-41.

The Pioneers would struggle on the offensive end while the Cavaliers got hot and stretched their lead to 15 points at 60-45 with 11:54 minute mark. Glenville State would not give up as they battled back and cut the Cavaliers lead to single digits, eight points, at 66-58 as when headed into the last four minutes of the game.

Glenville State continued to battle as the Pioneers scored back-to-back buckets as they cut the Cavaliers lead to five, 72-67 with 1:46 to play. After a defensive stop by the Pioneers Theo Brown would lay it in as he made it a three-point game, 72-69 with just 1:18.

Another great defensive stand by GSC gave them the ball back. Jon Dunmyer then was fouled on a three-pointer but hit just 1-of-3 from the line as the Pioneers trailed by two, 72-70. Darhius Nunn then tied the game up at 72 all with a 15-footer as we headed into overtime. 

Overtime saw the Cavaliers drilled back-to-back three-pointers as they went on a 6-0 run to take a 78-72 lead but Jon Dunmyer answered back with a three-pointer of his own making it 78-75 with 3:44 to play. UVa-Wise would get a bucket on their next possession but again GSC answered this time as Brooks Ely hit a three-pointer pulling within three, 81-78. But again the Cavaliers answered as they went up by five, 83-78. A Cavalier turnover and a three-point play by Darhius Nunn pulled the Pioneers with two points with 1:06 to play 83-31.

Glenville State then was forced to foul as UVa-Wise hit six straight free-throws down the stretch as the Cavaliers held on to defeat the Pioneers, 89-83.

GSC finished the contest shooting 38 percent from the field while UVa-Wise shot 40 percent.

The rebounding battle went to the Pioneers as they out rebounded the Cavaliers by 15, 55-40. However GSC had 19 costly turnovers on the night.

The Pioneers had four players post double figures with Darhius Nunn leading the way with 21 points while going just 7-of-28 from the field. Nunn also dished out a team high seven assists and pulled down six boards. Jon Dunmyer scored 17 points as he netted 4-of-10 three-pointers.Brooks Ely posted a double-double as he scored 10 points and grabbed a game high 15 rebounds. Andrew Johnson also chipped in with 10 points.

UVa-Wise also had four players in double figures with Taiwo Badmus scoring a game high 30 points as he went 10-of-19 from the floor while grabbing 14 rebounds as he posted a double-double. Chance Sheffey scored 19 points in the contest while Michal Seals scored 15 points and dished out nine assists. Yesid Mosquera-Perea chipped in with 10 points.

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