Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

December 21, 2013

Lady Blues tame the Bulldogs

BLUEFIELD — The 2013 Sheetz/Herb Sims Classic proved to be a coming out party for this year’s Bluefield State College Lady Blues basketball team.

Friday night the Lady Blues beat WVU Tech and Saturday afternoon in the final game of the classic, the Lady Blues ran to a 79-61 win over the Lady Bulldogs of Bowie State University. Bowie State entered the weekend with a 5-1 record and left the BSC campus 5-3, dropping a pair of games.

“I am really proud of our kids. I am ecstatic right now,” said BSC head coach J.J. Oliver.

Bowie State took an early lead, but by the time of the first media time-out with 15:24 left in the opening half, Bluefield State had gained an 8-7 lead thanks to a putback by Tasia Nolan. The Lady Blues never trailed again in the contest, though it was close at times.

BSC went ahead by eight midway through the opening half only to see Bowie State climb back to within one when Alisha Burley popped a three. The Lady Blues stayed on top and slowly increased their lead and Shay Gravely’s free throw with 2.7 ticks showing on the clock gave the home team its biggest lead of the game 41-31 and that is where the teams stood at the intermission.

Bluefield State suffered a setback in the first half when Nolan left fairly early after a collision underneath the BSC basket and at the time it appeared she would not return. However, she took to the court in the second half and was key on both ends of the floor for the Lady Blues.

With Bluefield’s lead going from between six and eight points, the Lady Blues broke away in the game’s final seven minutes. Indy Hauser’s three pushed the lead to 12 and Nolan’s basket with 3:23 to play gave the home team a 14 point advantage, 73-59. The Lady Blues’ biggest lead came on Gravely’s triple with two minutes remaining, 18 points, which happened to be the final margin of victory.

“This is an excellent win for us against a quality program historically and this year, a CIAA school that’s historically ranked in the region,” Oliver said. “Give credit to our kids, they just played hard. We held a team to 52 last (Friday) night and 61. This is probably the second lowest amount of points we’ve allowed in a game...

“I think these last two games our players really just dug down and believed in themselves and we were able to get more offensive spacing and we knocked down shots, which always helps.”

Kearah Jefferys had the hot hand for Bluefield State with 22 points. Jefferys was 7-of-12 from the field including two-of-two from three point land and six-of-10 from the charity stripe. She had a team-high five assists. Gravely  added 11 points.

Hope Smith came off the bench to clear 12 rebounds and Shae Mebane snagged 10 for the Lady Blues who lost the rebounding contest 47-40 to the physical Lady Bulldogs.

Denver Clyde topped the scoring chart for Bowie State with 20 points. Alisha Burley had 14 and Ashley Castle 10. Clyde also had a team-high 10 boards.

The Bluefield State defense forced 15 Bowie State turnovers and had 11 steals.

“I can’t say enough about all of our players the last two games, stepping up and playing really well as a team,” Oliver said. “We’ve been talking about playing together as a team and we’ve been having some problems where at times we thought we were disorganized. I think these last two games our kids really bought into the system.”

With the win BSC improved to 4-8 on the season and will carry a two-game winning streak into its exhibition of the season, New Year’s Eve in Washington, D.C. against Division I George Washington University. BSC then plays its final exhibition on Jan. 2 against North Carolina Central before returning to action against Virginia University of Lynchburg on Jan. 4 at Ned Shott Gymnasium.

Bowie State fell to 5-3 with the loss.

In Saturday’s opening game of the Sheetz/Herb Sims Classic, Glenville State defeated West Virginia Tech 70-32.

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