WHEELING — Instead of going into the locker room at halftime during its Mountain East Conference women’s basketball quarterfinal match-up against the University of Charleston, Alderson Broaddus stayed out on the court to get more shots up.
Things were that bad for the Battlers as UC clamped down on defense, earning a 73-50 victory over AB at WesBanco Arena to advance to the semifinals. The Golden Eagles (15-2) will play at 11 a.m. Saturday against the winner of Thursday’s late game between Concord and Wheeling.
The Battlers (7-11) made just 7 of 33 from the floor in the first half (17.6%). Alderson Broaddus also turned the ball over 14 times as UC led 37-16 at halftime.
“We have done that before in the past,” Alderson Broaddus coach Summer Quesenberry said. “We didn’t need to go back into the locker room. We weren’t shooting well and it wasn’t good enough to win a basketball game.”
UC coach Tianni Kelly, the MEC Coach of the Year, agreed that defense won the game for UC.
“What we do best is defend,” Kelly said. “The first two quarters were phenomenal defensively. I’m really proud of the way they played.”
Kelly knows that whoever UC, the South Division champion, faces in the semifinals, the Golden Eagles will have their hands full.
“Both would be tough games regardless,” Kelly said. “We have a job to do. We have to work on our rebounding because both teams have two really big players inside [Concord’s Riley Fitzwater and Wheeling’s Lilly Ritz].”
UC didn’t exactly light up the nets, missing 14 of its first 16 shots. Both teams combined to miss the first 13 field goal attempts of the game before the Golden Eagles’ Dakota Reeves finally scored the first points 3:49 into the contest on a 3-pointer.
However, UC made its final four shots of the first quarter, held the Battlers without a point for 4:18, and closed on a 13-0 run to earn a 15-7 lead.
The Golden Eagles later went on a 17-0 run spanning the end of the second quarter and early in the third. UC held Alderson Broaddus without a point for another long scoring drought of 5:39 to up its lead out to 39-16.
UC still led by 23 points early in the third quarter, but the Battlers finally started making some shots (five of six). Alderson Broaddus went on a 9-0 run at one point, holding the Golden Eagles without a point over 3:02 to cut the deficit down to 50-38 entering the fourth.
“We are battlers,” Quesenberry said. “We were resilient and had it all the way down to 12 points at the end of the third quarter. They had to continue playing and couldn’t sub in the end of their bench.”
However, the Battlers would get no closer as the Golden Eagles scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to extend their lead again. UC led 73-48 for its largest lead of the game.
Alderson Broaddus finished the game shooting just 30% from the floor (21 of 69) and 10% from 3-point range (2 of 20). UC shot just 34% from the field and 15% from 3.
Erykah Russell led the way for UC with 26 points and added eight rebounds. Brooklyn Pannell added 16 points and Anastasiia Zakharova was also in double figures with 10 points.
Iyahnna Williams was the lone double-figure scorer for Alderson Broaddus with 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Hannah Henderson collected 11 rebounds for the Battlers.