By Duane Cochran
For the Times West Virginian
Fairmont State's Lady Falcons have suffered a few close losses this season due to some poor late-game execution.
Saturday afternoon FSU's execution in the final nine minutes was near-perfect and as a result the Lady Falcons wiped out a second-half deficit and won their seventh game in eight tries, 65-62, over visiting Notre Dame College at the Joe Retton Arena.
The win improved Fairmont to 12-6 overall and to 10-5 in the Mountain East Conference and sets up a showdown with league-leading and 10th-ranked Glenville State (20-2, 15-1) Monday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Joe Retton Arena.
“Boy in the last three-and-a-half minutes today we played really well,” said FSU coach Steve McDonald, who saw his team wipe out a 12-point Notre Dame lead in the final 14:43. “Now, we played well too before that. We were down 12 at one point and by like nine there in the final nine minutes.
“We just whittled it away possession by possession and play by play. Once we got back in it, it came down to execution down the stretch and like I said we were very good. We executed our halfcourt sets very well and we executed late-game situations – three or four types of those very well. There have been times when we haven't done that very well in games this year. It always takes a team effort to get a win and I thought our team played very well.”
Led by Hailey Garrett and Makenzie White, Fairmont State outscored Notre Dame 20-8 in the game's final 9:27. Garrett finished with a game-high 21 points and seven rebounds, while White added 16 points, a game-high eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. She also sealed the victory for FSU with a pair of clutch free throws with 10 seconds remaining.
“We're really starting to come together and play well,” said Garrett. “When the game is on the line we just seem to step up and rise to the occasion. We didn't have a great first half. We missed some shots and gave up some easy baskets, but in the second half, and especially in the last 10 minutes or so, we really played well.”
The Lady Falcons also got nine points apiece from Emily Lohr and Deidra Combs. All nine of Combs' points came in the second half.
Notre Dame, which nailed 6-of-9 first-half 3-point field goals, was held to a 1-of-6 performance from long range in the second half. NDC, which fell to 12-8 overall and to 8-7 in the league, was led by Courtney Clark's 14 points. NDC also got 13 points from Martha Nagbe and 11 from Kelsey Miller.