By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Shae Mebane scored 28 points, pulled down seven rebounds, blocked three shots and had a steal to lead the Bluefield State College Lady Blues to their third straight victory, 83-76 over the University of Charleston Golden Eagles, Thursday night at Ned Shott Gymnasium.
“I think Mebane is probably one of the premier posts in this conference,” said BSC women’s head coach J.J. Oliver. “We feel like she can score all day when she’s one-on-one. She’s just got to get confidence in herself.”
After ties at two and four the Lady Blues opened an early six-point lead. UC fought back and took the lead on Tianni Kelly’s jumper. Bluefield State then went desert dry, a scoring drought that lasted more than four minutes that saw the Golden Eagles open a five point advantage.
Shay Gravely’s free throw with 7:47 left got State back on track and BSC began pumping the ball inside to Mebane. Her shot in the paint and a later turnaround jumper pulled BSC to within one.
Janay Abernathy’s free throws with 2:30 to play in the opening half tied the game and Mebane’s ensuing steal and layup gave the lead back to the Lady Blues.
Gravely’s two charity tosses with 23 ticks on the clock gave BSC a four-point lead and State carried a 34-32 lead into the intermission.
In the second half the Lady Blues wasted little time going to Mebane. In the first 50 seconds the 6’0 junior from Greensboro, N.C., scored two buckets and blocked a shot.
Charleston managed to draw even at the 17-minute mark and for the next 10 minutes of action the teams were nip-and-tuck with numerous lead changes and ties. With just under five minutes to play the Lady Blues took the lead for good.
Charlene Diggs made a layup and drained a three and Meban scored down low in an 8-0 BSC run that gave the home team a 71-65 lead. The advantage grew as big as 11 points only to see Charleston pull to within four, but State sealed the deal from the free throw line to get the win.
Oliver said, “This is the WVIAC and you never get a cupcake night. Charleston is a very good team, a well-coached team, a team that plays with a lot of energy.
“Our ladies showed some resolve tonight. Most of our wins lately have been in double-digits. I think we showed that we can play smart and do a good job in the paint down the stretch and learn how to win close games.”
In addition to Mebane’s 28, Dragana Tomic had 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Tiffany Moorer puled down seven boards and had two assists, and Diggs had five assists to go with her nine points. The Lady Blues won the rebounding battle 45-32.
“I think our young ladies did a good job of recognizing what the situation was on the floor,” Oliver said. “They (Charleston) tried to take our guards away, so we created one-on-one opportunities and I think we did a good job executing.”
Kelly led the Golden Eagles with 19 points and nine boards, while LeAnne Ross dropped in 15 points.
Bluefield State, after shooting 35 percent from the field in the first half, scorched the nets, making 59 percent of their shots in the final 20 minutes.
With the win the Lady Blues improved to 8-3 overall and 6-2 in the WVIAC. Charleston fell to 6-6 in all games and 3-5 in league play.
Bluefield State looks to extend its winning streak to four games when they host Seton Hill, Saturday at 2 p.m.
— Contact Bob Redd at email@example.com