The Times West Virginian

December 6, 2013

Lady Falcons rally past UC in OT

Times West Virginian

CHARLESTON — It took an extra five minutes ,but Fairmont State’s Lady Falcons accomplished their goal Thursday evening at the Eddie King Gymnasium.

FSU outscored the University of Charleston 12-9 in overtime to record a wild 78-75 Mountain East Conference victory.

The win improved FSU to 4-2 overall and to 2-1 in the league. Charleston, on the other hand, fell to 5-2 overall and to 1-2 in the conference.

FSU’s Makenzie White didn’t play her best game, but with the contest on the line she stepped to the forefront for the Lady Falcons and got it done. White scored 20 of her team-high 24 points in the second half, including seven in overtime, to help Fairmont record the win which was its first of the year on the road.

“We did a really good job of defending them for most of the game and blocking out on the boards, especially down the stretch,” said White. “Diedra (Combs) had a big three for us in overtime. Hallie Gunnoe had some huge baskets for us down the stretch in regulation, and I finally was able to get some threes to fall.

“I would’ve liked to have had all of those foul shots to fall at the end, but I guess I had to make it interesting. Seriously, though, this was a big win for us both in the league and in the region.”

White could have put the game out of reach for the Lady Falcons in the waning seconds of overtime, but went just 2-of-4 at the foul line in the last 10 seconds, giving UC’s Chyress Lockhart a chance to tie it at the buzzer. Lockhart, who finished with a game-high 32 points, however, had her 30-foot attempt at a game-tying 3-pointer graze the bottom of the net as time expired in overtime.

“Makenzie sure stepped up for us and took control tonight when we needed her to,” said FSU backup senior center Brianna Innocent, who recorded a double-double in the victory for the Lady Falcons, finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds. “I’m starting to trust her as a point guard. She’s so aggressive, and she just gets the job done. Hallie Gunnoe hit some big shots for us toward the end of the game too. I’m really proud of her.

“This was our first win on the road, and it was such a good one for us. Our main goal was to keep their 3-point shooters under control and rebound the ball. I really concentrated on boxing out and being strong on the boards.”

Fairmont, which faced an 11-point deficit in the contest midway through the opening half, rallied and took a 37-35 lead at the break. UC then held a 58-54 advantage with 7:27 remaining in regulation, but FSU’s White and Gunnoe combined to help Fairmont open a two-point lead late in regulation that it couldn’t maintain. UC tied the game and forced overtime on a driving layup by Lockhart with six seconds left.

Gunnoe finished with 16 points for Fairmont State, while Emily Lohr chipped in 10. Hailey Garrett added eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Joining Lockhart in double figures for UC was LeAnne Ross, who finished with 17 points. Nichole Perry added nine.

Fairmont State returns to action Saturday with a 2 p.m. home game at Joe Retton Arena against West Virginia State.