The Times West Virginian

February 21, 2014

Lady Falcons return to form, roll past CU

Times West Virginian

ATHENS — Fairmont State’s Lady Falcons got back on track and got a little redemption in the process here Thursday evening at the Carter Center as they rolled to a 77-63 victory over Concord University.

FSU, which avenged an earlier 67-64 loss to the Mountain Lions in a game played in Logan back in January, improved to 14-8 overall and 12-7 in the Mountain East Conference. The Lady Falcons remain tied for fourth in the 12-team MEC standings.

Fairmont, which was ranked sixth in the Atlantic Region in the first NCAA Division II Regional Rankings which were announced Wednesday, didn’t waste any time jumping on Concord last night.

Unlike the first game in which CU led for much of the contest, it was FSU which took control early and didn’t look back. The Lady Falcons raced to a double-digit lead less than 12 minutes into the game and by halftime held a 40-22 advantage.

“We’ve had so many close games with Concord over the years because our teams know each other so well and they’re so well coached,” said FSU coach Steve McDonald.

“For us to come down here tonight, take control of the game in the first half like we did and basically continue that throughout the course of the game was fantastic. It says a lot for our players.

“We felt like we needed a little redemption from our first game with Concord earlier this year. We tell our kids we don’t believe in revenge. We believe in redemption and tonight we redeemed ourselves.”

By the 7:50 mark of the second half the unselfish Lady Falcons, who finished with 20 assists on 29 field goals and had five players reach double figures in the scoring column, had built a 24-point, 65-41, lead.

Concord, however, refused to fold. Instead, the Lady Mountain Lions fought back and quickly closed to within 13 thanks to an 11-0 run in just a 2:36 span which made it 65-52 with 5:14 to play.

It was then that Fairmont’s Hallie Gunnoe took over. The junior guard battled foul trouble in the first half and was held scoreless. She, however, exploded for 15 points in the second half, including 10 consecutive points which helped the Lady Falcons extended their lead back out and quell the Concord rally.

“I was just glad to get in the flow of the game after being in foul trouble for the majority of the first half,” said Gunnoe. “I felt like we really took it to them running with the ball. We also shared the ball very well tonight.”

FSU junior center Hailey Garrett, who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, agreed.

“Minus the short span in the second half where we got a little careless and out of control I thought it was a good overall team win,” said Garrett. “Our stats tonight support that. We played very unselfish.

“Hallie’s play down the stretch was a key for us. She always steps it up for us at the right time. She’s a big threat on the court both offensively and defensively and when she gets in that zone she’s tough to stop.”

Fairmont, which shot 58 percent from the field (29-of-50), also got 14 points and eight assists from Makenzie White, 10 points and three blocks from Deidra Combs and 10 points and five rebounds from Brianna Innocent. Emily Puskarich chipped in nine points.

Concord was held to just 36.7 percent shooting from the floor (22-of-60). The Lady Mountain Lions were led by Rachel Artrip’s 14 points and five rebounds and Andrea Bertrand’s 13 points and six boards.

FSU returns to action on the road Saturday when it visits Virginia-Wise for a 1 p.m. MEC showdown.