RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Lexy Carson poured in a game-high 30 points, including four free throws in the final 26.1 seconds, to lift West Virginia State University to a 77-72 come-from-behind win over the University of Rio Grande, Tuesday night, in non-conference women’s basketball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The loss was the first in six outings for the RedStorm, while W.Va. State improved to 2-1 with the victory.
The Yellow Jackets trailed 72-71 after Rio Grande freshman forward Alexis Payne (Deep Water, WV) scored off of an offensive rebound with 54.6 seconds remaining in the game, but scored the final six points of the contest - all from the free throw line - to earn the win.
Asia Greenleaf actually gave State the lead for good by connecting twice from the charity stripe with 43.2 seconds left, while Carson finished things off by twice hitting a pair of free throws at 26.1 and 6.7 seconds remaining, respectively.
Rio Grande scored the game’s first nine points and led twice led by as many as 10 points midway through the opening half, but a 12-2 run by the Jackets knotted the score at 24-24 with 5:51 left before the intermission and the game was nip-and-tuck the rest of the way.
The game included 10 ties and 17 lead changes, including four of each in the final 3:19.
State’s biggest lead of the night was the five-point margin of victory, although it led by five points on three occasions earlier in the second half, including 66-61 after a bucket by Carson with 5:28 remaining, but Rio scored five straight to tie the score and eventually went back in front 68-67 on a pair of free throws by junior guard Brianna Thomas (Maplewood, NJ) with 1:53 left and 72-71 on Payne’s basket with just under one minute to play.
The Yellow Jackets survived a season-high 28 turnovers by shooting 54 percent from the field overall (26-for-48), 60 percent from three-point range (9-for-15) and enjoying a 42-32 edge in rebounding - the first time Rio Grande has been outrebounded this season.
The RedStorm shot a season-low 37 percent overall (25-for-67) and hit just five of their 21 three-point tries.
Among the quartet of Rio players who entered the game averaging in double figures, only Thomas reached the plateau in the loss with a career-high 25 points. She also had six steals.
Freshman forward Brooke Marcum (Vinton, OH) grabbed 11 rebounds in a losing cause for the RedStorm.
In addition to Carson’s big night, WVSU also got 15 points from Rachel Ward - who averaged just three points per game coming into the contest - as well 13 points from Greenleaf and 10 from India Taste. Greenleaf also had a team-high seven rebounds and Taste handed out eight assists.
Rio Grande returns to action on Thursday night in its Mid-South Conference opener when it hosts Cumberland (TN) University for a 6 p.m. tipoff.