Glenville State’s high-powered offense was able to hold off a solid University of Charleston squad in the 77-73 victory, giving the Pioneers the WVIAC tournament title and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Leading the way for the victors was Beth Deren, who totaled 16 points. LaToya Hambrick amassed 11 while Tenisha Wilson hit for 10. Mishae Miles netted eight but pulled down 13 rebounds. Miranda Reed dished out eight assists.
For UC, Lindsey Kentner dropped in a game-high 23 points while Tiani Beatty posted 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Tarena Dixon registered eight points and 12 rebounds.
UC came out on fire, nailing seven of its first eight attempts, but GSC was right there with the Golden Eagles. Trailing 15-9, Beth Deren made a bucket off a pass from Miranda Reed. That started a 7-0 run by the designated visitors. Mishae Miles and Tenisha Wilson each hit a basket while Wilson added a free throw for a 16-15 lead.
Tiani Beatty answered the bell, driving down the lane to make a shot. Chrissy Keir then buried a three from 25 feet out for a 20-16 advantage.
Autumn Davis and Deren hit back-to-back shots from downtown to take a 28-25 lead with 3:28 to go. Including the six points from Davis and Deren, the Pioneers closed the half with a 16-6 run to post a 38-31 lead at the break.
In the first half, GSC converted eight turnovers into nine points while UC scored just three points off five GSC miscues.
The designated visitors slowly pushed the lead to double figures in the early going of the second half when Hambrick hit a short basket. The Pioneers were able to make it a 57-41 advantage at the 12:10 mark on Hambrick’s lay-up. However, UC slowly climbed back into the contest.
Tiani Beatty’s two free throws cut the lead to 10 with 5:07 to go. After a jumper by Miles, Ali Tobias drained a deep three to make the score 72-63. Kentner added her own three-point bucket to make it a six-point game with 3:07 to play.
With 13 seconds remaining, Keir’s lay-up pulled UC within four, 75-71. After the Golden Eagles made it a two-point game, Kenyell Goodson’s two free throws sealed the deal, giving GSC the conference tournament title.
For the game, GSC hit on 41.8 percent of its shots while UC made 40.8 percent of its attempts. Playing an up-tempo style, GSC accounted for 46 points off the bench while the Golden Eagles netted 16 from its non-starters.
The teams will now wait until tomorrow when the NCAA selections come out at 9:30 p.m. tomorrow night.