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February 3, 2013

Lady Bobcats blow out FSU, 82-62

BUCKHANNON — Ugly.

That pretty much sums up the performance of Fairmont State’s Lady Falcons here Saturday afternoon at the Rockefeller Center.

Struggling West Virginia Wesleyan took the game to FSU from the opening tip and never let up en route to an impressive 82-62 romp over the league’s second-place team.

The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for Wesleyan and improved the Lady Bobcats to 7-10 overall and to 6-8 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

FSU, on the other hand, fell to 13-7 overall and to 11-4 in league play.

The loss was the second-most lopsided setback of the season for Fairmont’s women who dropped an 82-57 decision to California (Pa.) University way back on Nov. 13. The Lady Falcons’ other five losses have all come by three points or less.

“I thought that I did an awful job of preparing our team for this game,” said Steve McDonald, who was looking for his 250th career win as the Lady Falcons’ coach Saturday. “I also did a very poor job of coaching our team in this game and I promise I won’t let it happen again.

“Wesleyan, though, played very well.”

Less than four minutes into the contest Wesleyan had built a 10-point lead and for all intents and purposes the rout was on. The Lady Bobcats extended their lead to as many as 19 in the first half at 33-14 and 35-16 with five minutes remaining thanks to red-hot shooting from the field. Wesleyan connected on 15 of its first 23 field goal attempts (65.2 percent) to help build its lead. FSU, on the other hand, hit just 6 of its first 21 shots (28.5 percent).

The Lady Falcons, though, clawed their way back into contention in the final five minutes of the half by forcing seven Lady Bobcat turnovers which helped the visitors cut the lead to just 10 at 38-28 at the break.

In the second half, Fairmont cut into Wesleyan’s lead even further. Led by Briana Welch and Emily Lohr, FSU made it a 50-45 game with 11:02 to play. The Lady Bobcats, however, reeled off nine unanswered points over the course of the next three minutes and the contest was never really close again.

“We really didn’t play well as a team,” said Welch, who along with Tiffany Nicholson led FSU with 14 points. “Some of us may have looked at this one coming in like we’re ranked two in the league and they’re at the bottom of the standings and we played at their level for pretty much the entire game.

“In the second half we cut it to five with a lot of time left, but we couldn’t hold them down.”

Fairmont turned the ball over nine times in the second half, shot a dismal 35.4 percent from the field in the loss (23-of-65), including a horrid 1-of-15 performance (6.7 percent) from 3-point range.

FSU got 13 points, six rebounds and four steals from point guard Kaitlin Snyder, but once again she struggled shooting the ball finishing just 4-of-19 from the floor, including just 1-of-9 from 3-point range. Hailey Garrett added 11 points and 11 rebounds. It was her ninth double-double performance of the year.

About the only thing Wesleyan did wrong Saturday was turn the basketball over 23 times, which helped to keep the game a bit closer than it should have been. The Lady Bobcats shot 51.8 percent from the field (29-of-56), including a 6-of-11 showing from long range (54.5 percent). Wesleyan also held a commanding 49-31 advantage on the glass against FSU.

Fairmont had no answer for Lady Bobcat center Atavia Blake inside. The 6-foot sophomore scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Wesleyan also got 16 points from Kerry Conroy, 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds from Brittany Maxey and 14 points from Allie Browne.

FSU will attempt to regroup Monday when its hosts Wheeling Jesuit in a 5:30 p.m. game at the Joe Retton Arena.

“We don’t have any time to dwell on this loss,” said Welch. “We’ve got to learn from it and get ready to play Monday.”

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