Senior Day is always special.
Fairmont State seniors Kaitlin Snyder and Tiffany Nicholson were determined Saturday it would stay that way at the Joe Retton Arena.
Trailing last-place Ohio Valley by 10 points at the half, FSU led by Snyder, Nicholson and a host of other Lady Falcons erupted for 51 second-half points and a regular-season ending 77-70 victory over the Lady Fighting Scots.
“We were down 10 versus the last-place team in the conference and that was definitely motivation for us to come out in the second half and move the ball more which led to us getting open looks in the lane,” said Snyder, who finished with a game-high 19 points, 15 of which came after the break. “They were playing a 2-3 zone and against a zone you can’t be stagnant. In the first half I think we were a little stagnant, but in the second half our guards moved better and we shared the basketball a lot more and like I said got open looks and took advantage of them.”
The win improved the Lady Falcons to 19-9 overall and to 16-6 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. FSU finished third in the 15-team WVIAC standings and will host an opening-round league tournament game Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. against 14th place Wheeling Jesuit University (8-18, 5-17) at the Joe Retton Arena. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students. There will be no reserved seating.
Nicholson, who finished with 16 points Saturday, including 10 in the second half, was FSU’s most successful player at finding her teammates open. The senior guard from Mannington finished with a career-high eight assists and also recorded five steals.
“I think we may have come in thinking it was going to be an easy game and it wasn’t. Our first-half performance was awful,” said Nicholson, who moved into 25th place in school history in career scoring in the win with 927 points. “We were down by a lot. In the second half we came out determined not to lose on Senior Day, especially for our seniors who don’t get to play a lot.
“In the second half we played a lot better. I like to share the ball and today I looked to do that as much as I could.”
Nicholson was able to find a number of her teammates open for crucial buckets, but one of the biggest beneficiaries was sophomore center Hailey Garrett, who finished with 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half. She also grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists of her own.
In addition, Fairmont got 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds from sophomore forward Emily Lohr and six points and three rebounds from Hallie Gunnoe.
Ohio Valley, which dropped to 2-24 overall and to 2-20 in the league and will visit second-place West Liberty Monday evening in its WVIAC Tournament opener, outscored FSU 20-4 in the final 5:48 of the opening half to build a 36-26 lead.
In the second half, though, Fairmont came out and quickly got back within four before the Lady Fighting Scots pushed the lead back to nine at 49-40 with 12:45 left to go. At that point FSU exploded on a 20-9 run to take the lead for good at 60-58 with 6:07 remaining. Fairmont then outscored the Lady Fighting Scots, 11-6 in the game’s final 3:28 to seal the victory.
“Our kids are normal kids,” said FSU coach Steve McDonald. “They were all excited today before the game for our five seniors and they wanted to play well. But someone forgot to give Ohio Valley the memo. They came out and played really, really hard and had a lead on us which really didn’t surprise me to be honest. I think they’re very well coached.
“It also didn’t surprise me that we came back in the second half and won the game. That didn’t surprise me either because that’s basketball at this time of the year. It can be a little crazy.”
As noted, FSU will host Wheeling Jesuit Monday night. The Lady Falcons recorded a pair of close wins over Lady Cardinals during the regular season. Fairmont’s women have made appearances in the league tournament quarterfinals in nine of the last 10 years. The women’s quarterfinal round of the league tourney will begin Wednesday at the Charleston Civic Center.
Senior Day is always special.
Jones uses his attitude to lead Polar Bears
When you look around the football field come August, you’ll see plenty of new faces for the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears. But there will be at least one very familiar face.
TJ Jones is one of just a handful of seniors on this year’s Fairmont Senior team, and he’s hoping to go out on top.
WVU, N.C. State to meet in football
Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.
HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention
When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.
FSU football season tickets available
Season ticket packages and VIP parking for the 2014 Fairmont State University football season are now available for purchase.
Several options are available, including the opportunity to purchase a piece of Fairmont State history.
Pirates jump on Haren early, top Dodgers, 6-1
Josh Harrison had two hits with two RBIs and the Pittsburgh Pirates jumped on Dan Haren early in a 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Harrison’s two-run double down the left field line capped a four-run outburst in the first against Haren (8-8).
Berner, Hess lead W.Va. Open
Threatening weather did not strike Wednesday, and it was a cool, breezy start to the 81st West Virginia Open played on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs.
WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting
West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.
Holgorsen’s program hits turning point
You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.
WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees
Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
“Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”
Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success
In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.
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