Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 19, 2014

Lady Lions sting West Virginia State

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

ATHENS — Four Concord players scored in double digits and the Lady Lions shot 50 percent from the field to defeat West Virginia State 76-67, Saturday afternoon at the Carter Center.

Sissy Wagner paced the Lady Lions with 21, Andrea Bertrand and Rachel Artrip each added 15 and Sammi Webster tallied 12. The win was Concord’s third in a row and snapped the club’s four-game home losing streak that dated back to the home opener on Nov. 18 against Bluefield State.

“I think we’re coming around,” said Concord head coach Kenny Osborne. “We’ve won three in a row now. You go back to the (West Virginia) Wesleyan game and we’ve won five-of-seven. And we actually won at home. I don’t know how to act.”

West Virginia State came into the game second in the Mountain East and jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead before baskets by Bertrand and Webster drew Concord even at five and then seven. Another Bertrand bucket down low knotted the score at nine and Wagner’s trey at the 13:21 mark gave the Lady Lions their first lead, 12-9.

Rachel Artrip drained a three to make it 19-14 before the Yellow Jackets scored five unanswered to retake the lead. After several lead changes West Virginia State pulled even at 26 and then with just over a minute to play in the half Concord pulled out to its biggest lead, five points.

West Virginia State scored the final four of the half and CU carried a one point lead, 31-30 into the intermission.

The Yellow Jackets tied the game at 32 and then 36 and at the under 15-minute media time out, Concord was ahead by four. The lead grew to six when Bertrand sank two free throws. West Virginia State, however, again stormed back and Asia Greenleaf’s basket with 10:45 left in the game knotted things at 48.

Concord buckets by Ashley Brown and another three by Wagner put the Lady Lions on top by five at the under 10-minute media timeout, during which West Virginia State coach David Smith, who entered the game with 599 career wins, was assessed a technical foul. Wagner made both free throws and then sank another three to give Concord a 10-point advantage.

Late in the contest Concord’s lead grew as high as 13 points. West Virginia State made a final charge and got to within seven on Greenleaf’s jumper with 90 seconds to play, but Wagner sealed the win with a jumper in the lane with 31 ticks left on the clock.

Webster had a game-high 12 rebounds for the Lady Lions while Bertrand and Artrip each pulled down five boards. Bertrand also dished out five assists and had three steals. Wagner had seven assists.

“Wagner should be a senior, she was hurt a year, missed a year; Webster is a senior; Bertrand should be a senior, missed a year, so seniors should do what they did and juniors should too, now we’re in the second semester,” Osborne said. “I thought we played great on both ends. I can’t say enough again of what Bertrand, Webster and Wagner did there.”

West Virginia State (11-5, 7-3 MEC) also had four players score in double figures, led by Lexy Carson with 18, India Taste with 17, Greenleaf with 15 and Shealyn Shafer with 12. Carson had eight rebounds and five assists while Taste had six assists and two steals.

“They (State) are a very good team. Coach Smith has done a great job. He is one of the premier coaches in Division II basketball,” Osborne said. “For us to get a win against this team, I am very, happy for us. I think that’s a big win for us.”

Concord moved to 7-6 overall and 5-5 in Mountain East Conference play. The Lady Lions return to the court Monday night at Bluefield State.