CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Fairmont State breezed in the last quarterfinal Wednesday of the West Virginia Conference tournament at the Civic Center, taking a 61-34 lead before settling for a 65-54 victory over West Virginia Wesleyan.The third-seeded Falcons advance to the semifinals Friday, where they will take on No. 2 West Liberty. Tipoff time is 1 p.m.The Falcons (21-9) had five double-figure scorers, led by Briana Welch's 18 points on perfect 7-of-7 shooting - despite her being under the weather.Sissonville native Kaitlin Snyder wasn't so perfect - 3 of 15 and 2 of 8 from 3-point range - but scored 15 points and dished out six assists. She passed the 2,000-point mark in her career, the second Falcon to do that. She has 2,008 career points, trailing only Kristen Gattuso's 2,042.
Hailey Garrett had 11 points and 13 rebounds to help Fairmont win the rebounding battle 41-34. Tiffany Nicholson and Hallie Gunnoe scored 10 points apiece, with Nicholson adding five assists.In the regular season, Wesleyan buried Fairmont 82-62 on Feb. 2 in Buckhannon. Don't think the Falcons forgot about it, either.
"They killed us by 20 points. I think that gave us a lot of motivation to come out and want to play harder," Snyder said. "We don't want to go home, and I think we came out and shot well, played together as a team and we executed what we needed to execute, and ended with the win."Wesleyan, the 11th-seeded team that knocked off West Virginia State at Institute in the first round, was outshot 49 percent to 31.4 percent. The Bobcats (9-18) won the regular-season and tournament championship a year ago.The Bobcats scored 24 points off 20 turnovers, but that still wasn't close to enough. In a reversal of the regular-season game, Fairmont owned a 41-34 edge on the boards.Wesleyan was led by Brittany Williams' 15 points, which came on 7-of-12 shooting. Allie Browne, a freshman from Hurricane High, had a team-high five assists.Browne helped the Bobcats go on a 20-4 run in the final seven minutes that made the score closer.Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.