By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Playing games in the familiar surroundings of the Carter Center in Athens this coming week should seem like a relief for the Concord University women’s basketball team, after starting the season on the road with three losses, including an exhibition.
The Lady Lions’ home debut is Wednesday, with WVU-Tech visiting the Carter Center in Athens. The non-conference game is set to tip off at 5:30 p.m.
Concord’s first conference game is next Saturday, Nov. 19, against Pitt-Johnstown at 1 p.m. as the first half of a doubleheader. The men’s game will begin at about 3 p.m.
The Athenians began their campaign with an exhibition game in Huntington against Marshall University. Andrea Bertrand and Rachel Artrip each scored 20 points for Concord in the 84-71 loss to the Thundering Herd.
Artrip, who graduated from Honaker High School, had a team-high nine rebounds and went 6 for 8 from three-point range. Bertrand racked up eight assists and seven rebounds. Stephanie Wagner went 3 for 4 from beyond the arc and added 13 points.
The two games that counted were in the WVIAC-PSAC Challenge held at Fairmont State’s Joe Retton Arena this past weekend.
In Friday’s 72-44 loss to Indiana (Pa.), Concord was able to score only 16 first-half points.
Bertrand had five steals, matching her career high. She shot 4 for 9 from the floor and ended with nine points. Sammi Webster had seven rebounds, a career best for the sophomore, and scored six points.
On Saturday, CU took on another Pennsylvania university, Clarion, and went home after an 81-75 defeat. Tanisha Williams took a turn as Concord’s scoring leader, with 20 points after going 8 for 9 at the foul line and 6 for 12 from the field. Wagner scored 19 points, canning three three-pointers.
Though Concord forced 18 Clarion turnovers, their opponents made 53.4 percent of their field-goal tries. Clarion led by three points, 39-36, at halftime, but the Lady Lions never regained their early lead.
Senior Katy Somerville, Princeton Senior High grad Amanda Smith, Williams and Artrip appear to be regular starters this season for Concord.
Bertrand is expected to fill the rebounding role that Jolysa Brown handled prior to completing her eligibility last season. Bertrand started all 28 games for CU in 2011-2012, and averaged 13.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
The Lady Bears of WVU-Tech, Wednesday’s opponent, is 4-1 this season after beating a pair of Ohio schools last weekend in a tournament at the University of Rio Grande in Ohio. Senior Courtney Sturdivant was MVP of that tourney.
Concord reached the WVIAC tournament semifinals last spring and was picked to finish fourth in the preseason coaches’ poll.
— Contact Tom Bone