The final West Virginia Conference women's basketball tournament kicks off today with seven on-site games determining which teams advance to the quarterfinals on Wednesday at the Charleston Civic Center.No. 1 Glenville State received a first-round bye and will await the winner of No. 9 Charleston at No. 8 Pitt Johnstown, which is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip.After defeating UC on Saturday, No. 6 West Virginia State will host No. 11 West Virginia Wesleyan at 7 tonight.Yellow Jackets coach David Smith guided State to a 9-2 mark down the stretch, helping State go from 4-11 to hosting a postseason game.
While the Jackets in no way want to pat themselves on the back just yet, Smith admitted that getting a first-round game within the comforts of Fleming Hall is an accomplishment that stretches beyond his team."It's not only for this team, it's the whole program," Smith said. "We have a winning record now in the conference, which they haven't had for years, we're getting to host a home game, we're at 13-13 for the regular season - it's just huge for the program because we're out here trying to recruit. High school seniors, when you win three or four games, they're not too interested in coming into that kind of program. Now we've beaten the West Libertys, Fairmonts, Charlestons, and we can say, 'We beat them, we can play with them.' Now these kids are starting to believe."Meanwhile, Charleston is faced with a lengthy road trip after dropping four of its last six games and falling into the No. 9 spot.After the Golden Eagles' blowout loss to State on Saturday, coach Adam Collins was far from confident moving into the postseason."Obviously if we can't get up and play in this game, we're probably not going to get up to play [in the playoffs]," Collins said. "It is what it is."As a collective unit, we did not show up to play together and it has become a consistent thing coming down the stretch."Pitt Johnstown earned an 83-69 win at Eddie King Gym on Feb. 9 in the teams' only meeting of the year.State lost its only game of the season against Wesleyan 57-51 in Institute on Jan. 7. That loss capped a seven-game losing streak for the Yellow Jackets.Elsewhere, No. 2 West Liberty hosts No. 15 Ohio Valley; No. 3 Fairmont State hosts No. 14 Wheeling Jesuit; No. 4 Davis & Elkins hosts No. 13 Alderson-Broaddus; No. 5 Seton Hill hosts No. 12 Concord; and No. 7 Shepherd hosts No. 10 Bluefield State.For a full list of pairings, see page 2B.West Liberty junior Hilary Southworth earned the league's player of the year award as the All-WVC team was released on Sunday. Glenville State coach Bunky Harkleroad won coach of the year honors after the Pioneers cruised to a 26-2 overall record and a 21-1 mark in the league.
Glenville also landed two players on the first team as Ginny Mills and Kenyona Simmons represented the Pioneers. Fairmont State (Kaitlin Snyder and Hailey Garrett) and Seton Hill (Paige Alviani and Katie Gattuso) also put a pair of players on the first team, while West Virginia State's Jasmine Blanton and Pitt Johnstown's Kaitlynn Fratz joined Southworth to round out the squad.Charleston's Jessi Cowden earned second-team honors.For a full list see page 2B.nn
STATE BASEBALL: West Virginia State and Notre Dame College split a pair of games at Institute on Sunday with Notre Dame claiming the first 5-1 and the Yellow Jackets bouncing back to take the second 2-1.Notre Dame scored four runs in the top of the eighth in the first game and was led by Keifer Quick who had a pair of hits, including a solo home run. Jack Hudson homered to account for State's run.
In the second game, Eric Craft and Zach Cloxton hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the sixth inning to give State (2-4) a narrow win. nn
MU SPORTS: The Marshall baseball team limited North Carolina A&T to just three runs in two games in picking up 16-3 and 3-0 victories at Greensboro, N.C. on Sunday.Isaac Ballou, Eric Escobedo and Sergio Leon each had a pair of hits and three RBIs to lead the Thundering Herd (3-2) in the first game.Gray Stafford drove in two of Marshall's three runs in the second and picked up three hits.The Marshall women's basketball team squandered a 15-point lead in the final seven minutes and dropped a 71-61 decision at Rice on Sunday. Suporia Dickens scored a career-high 21 points with five 3-pointers to lead the Thundering Herd (9-17 overall, 3-10 Conference USA).nn
WVU SPORTS: Dan Dierdorff allowed five runs on five hits and four walks in just two innings as the West Virginia baseball team fell 11-3 at Wake Forest on Sunday. Jacob Rice had a pair of hits, an RBI, and a stolen base to lead the Mountaineers (3-4).Kaylyn Millick won a third straight all-around competition with a 39.35 score, propelling the West Virginia gymnastics team to a second-place finish at the Wendy M. Roach Invitational Pink Meet in Morgantown on Sunday.
The Mountaineers finished with 196.55 points, finishing just behind No. 3 Michigan and ahead of New Hampshire and Towson.The No. 1 West Virginia rifle team shot a two-day score of 4,705 and picked up its fourth-consecutive Great American Rifle Conference (championship at Oxford, Miss., on Sunday.Phil Mandzik earned a 5-1 victory, earning the West Virginia wrestling team a narrow 18-15 win over Clarion in Morgantown on Sunday.