Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

December 16, 2012

BSC's Lady Blues sweep Herb Sims Classic

BLUEFIELD — Few people worked harder for their own birthday present than J.J. Oliver did on Saturday.

The head coach of the Bluefield State College women’s basketball team celebrated his birthday by directing the Lady Blues to a 76-62 win against the Tigers of Salem International University to wrap up the annual Herb Sims Memorial Basketball Tournament with a two-game sweep.

He reluctantly admitted it was his birthday in response to a question, after talking about his team.

“I really feel like we reached our main goal, and that was to get two wins in this tournament,” he said. Then, acknowledging the late director of recreation for the city of Bluefield for many years, he said, “We wanted to represent for Herb Sims.”

Oliver added, “With our record at 5-2 overall, that’s probably the best record we’ve had at this point here in awhile.”

Confusion ensued prior to tipoff. Salem International (1-12) showed up wearing practice jerseys with numbers that in several cases did not match those in the program or the scorebook.

The first half played out at a frenetic pace. Consecutive layups by Salem’s Monique Hill gave the visitors a 6-0 lead after 70 seconds of play. BSC (5-2) scored the next seven points, creating the first of 13 lead changes in the first half.

The Tigers led 24-23 with 4:56 left in the first period, but SIU scored just one field goal, a three by Jessica Laggard, in the rest of the half. Bluefield State’s Tasia Nolan drove strong to the hoop to launch a 10-3 run that ended the half with the Lady Blues’ largest lead to that point, 33-27.

The home team made 11 of 12 foul shots in the first half, while Salem International hit only 6 of 15.

Oliver said, “I thought we started off kind of slow. We didn’t do the job of executing, offensively or defensively, in the first half. ... I thought Salem had the most energy in the first half, beating us to loose balls.”

The Tigers scored the first five points after intermission, closing their scoring gap to 33-32, but were never able to get closer. The Lady Blues held their opponents without a field goal for a stretch exceeding seven minutes.

At the midpoint of the second half, Kelli Morgan’s field-goal try traveled around the rim and fell to give the Lady Blues their first double-digit lead, 54-43.

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