By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Down by as many as 15 points, the Bluefield College Lady Rams rallied and claimed an 80-76 win over the Bluefield State College Lady Blues, Tuesday night at Ned Shott Gymnasium in the women’s Battle of the Bluefields.
“We talked about all heart and that every possession matters,” said BC interim coach Jessica Brokaw. “I told my assistant if we go to Janee (Simmons) early and get her going, we could ride her. I asked the team what do they want to do? They said they can’t stop her, let’s go to her. She (Simmons) said she wanted the ball and we kept giving it to her.”
The Lady Blues took the game’s first lead on a three by Shay Gravely only to see the Lady Rams charge back with eight unanswered points. State reclaimed the lead on Shae Mebane’s bucket and BSC stayed on top as the teams went to the media timeout with 11:20 to go in the half.
Maryah Mazuck’s floater in the lane with 11:00 on the clock put BC back ahead only to see Indy Hauser answer with a trey to put the Lady Blues back ahead.
A 10-2 run midway through the opening half by BSC saw State take its biggest lead of the half.
BC fought back Teqa McNeal made four free throws, two on a foul and two technical to make it a three point game and Megan Tennant’s bucket with 1:50 left in the half brought the Lady Rams to within two points.
State stormed back, however and carried a 49-41 lead into the break.
In the second half State came out and pulled away quickly. A layup by Tonya Jackson along with another three by Gravely pushed the lead to 15 midway through the half.
Then started the Bluefield College comeback.
Janee Simmons’ layup cut the lead to eight and mostly from the foul line the Rams whittled at the lead. A three by McNeal with 4:40 to play closed the gap to five points at 75-70.
Destiny Tolliver proved to be a force inside on the defensive end of the court for Bluefield College as she blocked five shots in the second half.
“This game she had four or five blocks,” Brokaw said. “Against WVU Tech she had five blocks. She’s really making her presence known defensively and that’s something we didn’t have last year.”
Two more free throws and a bucket by Simmons cut the BSC lead to three and Asia Wheeler’s two charity tosses tied the game at 76 with 1:12 to play. Simmons’ basket with 22.9 left put the Lady Rams on top and her final two free throws with 0.6 on the clock sealed the victory for Bluefield College.
Simmons led all scorers with 35 points and made 21-of-26 free throws. McNeal had 21 and Wheeler 11 to pace the Lady Rams.
Gravely topped the scoring column for the Lady Blues and had three treys. Tenika Jackson had 11 points for State.
A disappointed Bluefield State head coach J.J. Oliver commented after the game: “To be quite hones I feel like our young ladies were cheated out of an opportunity of winning the game tonight. I think Bluefield College did a good job of shooting 49 free throws. We wish we were given an opportunity to be successful, but credit the other team for doing what they needed to do to win the game.”
The game was an exhibition for Bluefield State, while it counts in the standings for Bluefield College.
Bluefield State plays next on Saturday at Alabama State, while Bluefield College is now 2-1 and will play on Saturday at Mount Vernon Nazarene.