Rachel Redick (L) scored several like this on fast-break
outlet passes in the second half. Casey Taylor (R) hits
a jump-shot over UC defenders (Photos by Drew Moody)
Glenville State College's Lady Pioneers became WVIAC regular season
champions with Saturday night's commanding victory over the University of Charleston.
It's a numbers game. Glenville's record stands at 15-0 with two games
remaining. Their peers share three losses each, so the first of many
hurdles has been cleared.
Several remain. First, the Lady Pioneers have two more games to close
out the regular season. They'll meet Bluefield State at home Thursday
night at 5:30 p.m., then travel to Elkins Saturday to play D&E.
Head coach Steve Harold said Monday the team is taking the season one
step at a time. At the same time, Harold said the team realizes "the
possibilities if you take care of business."
Melanie Oliver (L) crosses the lane as she prepares
to shoot over UC defenders. Christy Alltop is hammered
during a shot underneath (Photos by Drew Moody)
The first post-season goal is to capture the WVIAC Championship
Tournament. For Harold, and the senior members of the Lady Pioneers,
this is a now frequently traveled road. For the previous seven years in a row the team has competed in the finals, winning the crown two of those years.
"We've shown a consistency to get there," is all Harold offered about
the finals. The team's consistent strategy has been preparation, hard work and keeping focused on the next game.
The WVIAC Tournament is scheduled to begin February 28, and continue
through March 3 at the Charleston Civics Center. WVIAC officials said
Monday the Lady Pioneers have a 'buy' in first round action, and will
move directly into tournament play on the 28. Round 1 of tournament play begins statewide at various campus locations February 26 for women, and February 27 for men. Glenville's mens team will be on the road February 27.
Should the Lady Pioneers finish the season ranked at the top of the NCAA East Region, Division II, standings Glenville will be in line to host the regional tournament. The team has topped that pole for several weeks running.
And backed with an 87-2 home court record since 2000, any visiting team is faced with that added psychological challenge. The facts are clear. The Lady Pioneers are tough to beat, but it's particularly difficult on their home court with the support of loyal fans.
The Lady Pioneers previously hosted the tournament in 2002.
Saturday's University of Charleston Game a Big Win
It was billed 'the game of the season,' but it turned into a virtual
blowout as the Lady Pioneers led by as many as 30-points. At the buzzer it was 85-62.
Harold said strategic adjustments made during halftime contributed to
the win. "They're good, we just played better than they did."
The Lady Pioneers were all smiles as they made their way to center court to lock arms and celebrate the victory. This time, however, Rachel Redick beckoned the fans to join in and several spilled out on the court to join the team.
Redick led Glenville scorers with 26 points, and trails Charleston's
Lisa Lee's high scoring record by a mere 35 points.
Christy Alltop, a senior guard, turned in another powerful performance netting 16 points along with six assists. Casey Taylor hit double figures with 11, followed by Melanie Oliver with 9. Karina Kendrick and Lauren Strong both nailed 8 apiece.
Early in the game both teams were plagued by turnovers. The University of Charleston failed to capitalize on the opportunities, allowing the Lady Pioneers to control the floor - barely.
Both teams shot a dismal 40-percent during first half play.
Rachel Redick connected with the first bucket of the game with just
under a minute of play gone. UC countered with two inside.
Lauren Strong is low and serious as she
brings the ball up-court (Photo by Drew Moody)
Lauren Strong and Casey Taylor hit back-to-back triples and with 17:17 left in the first half Glenville had an 8-2 lead.
Charleston fought back to within three 11-8 with just over 13 minutes
remaining. Both teams seemed unsettled and Charleston's Rachel Pike (25) closed the gap to one with a three-pointer at 11:15. The score 14-13.
The Lady Pioneers scored four straight, with Taylor, Oliver and Strong's effort, plus converted a free-throw, jumping to a 23-13 lead at about the 9 minute mark.
Karina Kendrick (L) shoots
for two points underneath
(Photo by Drew Moody)
Charleston trimmed the lead to 26-19 and then failed to convert two free throws at the 4-minute mark.
Christy Alltop ended the Lady Pioneer dry spell by hitting for two with just under three minutes left.
Charleston looked as if it would make another run at Glenville scoring several and a Christine DiSabato one-hander landed as the shot clock ran out. With 1:29 left the score stood at 30-24.
Alltop converted two shots from the charity line and nailed a triple
just before the half.
The halftime score stood at 35-28. Although the Lady Pioneers had held the lead throughout the quarter, it was still anyone's game.
Charleston scored first in the second half, but a run started by a
Christy Alltop triple and six consecutive Redick points, four scored on fast-breaks, gave Glenville a 9 to 1 point run and they led 46-33 with just under 17 left in the game.
The University of Charleston's composure and game started to buckle at that juncture.
Redick scored the next six buckets Lady Pioneer buckets and with just under 14 minutes remaining it was a 52-40 game.
From the 12:29 mark the Lady Pioneers scored 14 unanswered points and
led by 30 with just over 7 minutes left. The score was 72-42.
Lady Pioneer starters were soon taken out and the bench held their own as UC attempted a fruitless comeback.
The final score 85-62.