West Virginia State's Lexy Carson attacks the basket as Glenville State's Aesha Peters defends during Saturday's game.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's apparent right from the opening tip that Glenville State does things differently than most teams.The prolific Pioneers didn't even start their leading scorer, Kenyona Simmons, for Saturday afternoon's Mountain East Conference women's semifinal against West Virginia State. But it hardly mattered.Because less than a minute into the game, Glenville had already shuttled five new players, including Simmons, to the scorer's table, waiting to check in. Not long after that, the Pioneers were well on their way to checking out with another lopsided victory.Kenyell Goodson led six players in double-figure scoring with 22 points as the frenetic Pioneers raced to a 103-75 victory, earning a spot against the University of Charleston in today's 1 p.m. finals at the Charleston Civic Center.
"This is a team on a mission,'' said Glenville State coach Charles Marshall, "and I think they showed it out there on the court today.''State's Lexy Carson, the MEC player of the year, did her best to try and stop the onslaught, turning in a 26-point, four-assist effort, but the way the Pioneers attack in waves tends to wear opponents out.By halftime, top-seeded Glenville (27-3) had built a 52-32 lead and had taken an NBA-like 48 shots from the floor with just three turnovers.A shot clock is much too excessive for a team like Glenville — its possessions should be timed with a stopwatch. By using so many players (13 hoisted shots in the first half), Glenville can always keep its foot on the gas.
Two of the first three possessions for West Virginia State (19-11), the No. 4 seed, resulted in forced turnovers against a trapping defense, leading to layups at the other end."We tried to do some things,'' said State coach David Smith, "and it just didn't work. We got ourselves in a hole right from the go. Then it just snowballs."For us to win this game, we had to really play well and hope they don't shoot it very well. They're just so deep on the bench, they came at you with eight, nine kids that can score in double figures. We just didn't have an answer today.''Glenville didn't even shoot the ball very well Saturday (just 39.5 percent from the floor), but knocked down 16 3-pointers and still made it over the century mark for the 18th time in 30 games.
"We do feed off it,'' said Goodson, who hit six of her team's 3s. "But then again, it comes as second nature. You just feed off everybody else's energy. So whenever everybody's hitting, you're just going and going and you don't even think about it. You just let it fly.''Keyanna Tate added 14 points for the Pioneers, followed by Tasia Bistow (13), Tiffani Huffman (11), Simmons (11) and Ashleigh Fossett (10).About the only sour spot for the Pioneers was a knee injury to senior guard Jessica Parsons, the team's assists leader who was carried off the floor in the second half. Marshall said he hoped his training staff could get Parsons ready to play today.
No one played more than 22 minutes for Glenville State, which always looked fresh even deep into the game. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets were looking for oxygen tanks."We kind of get gassed quicker,'' Carson said of playing the Pioneers' style. "They have a lot of shooters, so you're worrying about them — and they're so fast-paced — and making sure we recovering. And it's tiring. It's a lot to think about. Not only do they have shooters, they also have the inside, so they have scorers from all areas."We played them twice before. We know they do that. Just trying to keep up with them, that's all we can do. Trying to breathe and stay with them.''Glenville had previously beaten State this season 104-96 and 122-98.Now, the Pioneers turn their attention to another Kanawha Valley team, UC, in today's title game. It will pit the league's top offense of Glenville (99.1 points per game) against the Golden Eagles' No. 1 defense (63.8).UC has previously lost to Glenville 90-78 and 53-50. In the latter game, played on Feb. 8, the Golden Eagles often held the ball before looking to shoot.
"A few teams have held the ball on us,'' Marshall said, "which I'm glad they did it. We'll be well-prepared for it tomorrow, just like for the Wheeling game [Glenville beat Wheeling Jesuit 75-53 in the quarterfinals]."With the group we have, we can win in multiple ways.''Also for State, Shealyn Shafer had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Brock scored 11 points and Asia Greenleaf grabbed 11 rebounds.Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org