MONTGOMERY, W.Va. — Julia Heaberlin provided a spark off the bench, scoring a career-high 15 points and leading a balanced scoring attack that saw five players reach double figures as the University of Rio Grande posted an 89-69 victory over West Virginia Tech, Wednesday evening, at the Baisi Athletic Center.
The RedStorm captured their eighth victory in just their 10th game of the 2013-2014 campaign, a feat which took 30 games to complete last season.
Rio Grande also completed the regular season sweep of the Golden Bears, who fell to 2-7 with the loss.
The RedStorm led by as much as 13 late in the first half, but the Golden Bears refused to go away quietly and cut the deficit to a managable seven points, 42-35, by halftime.
Much like its previous win against Wilberforce University last Wednesday, Rio Grande came out of the locker room in the second half and simply dominated the first 10 minutes, outscoring the home team 27-6 to take its largest lead of the game at 69-41.
From that point on, the RedStorm never looked back.
Rio Grande finished the game shooting just 39 percent (30-for-77) from the field, but was a respectable 35 percent (7-for-20) from beyond the arc while West Virginia Tech shot 31 percent (21-68) for the game and a slightly better 37.5 percent (9-for-24) from three-point range.
In a physical contest that saw 53 combined fouls and three Golden Bears foul out, neither team was able to find real success from the charity stripe, as the RedStorm shot a season-low 50 percent (22-for-44) and Tech shot 62.1 percent (18-for-29) from the line.
Heaberlin, a sophomore forward from Ashland, Ky., connected on her first six field goal attempts of the night, including a three-pointer, to earn team-high scoring honors.
Freshman Kaylyn Gambill (Ashland, KY) added 14 points in the winning effort, while junior Sarah Bonar (Hartford, OH) and freshman Sharday Baines (East Cleveland, OH) had 12 points apiece and freshman Alexis Payne (Deep Water, WV) scored 11 points in her return to her hometown.
Leading the way for West Virginia Tech was Nia Nolan with a game-high 21 points, followed by LaKisha Adkins and Tracee Mitchel with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
The below-average shooting display by both squads resulted in a combined total of 114 rebounds, with the RedStorm owning a 60-54 advantage on the boards.
Bonar and Payne led Rio Grande with nine and eight rebounds, respectively, while Cheyanna Lusk pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds and Roche’ Wimberly yanked down 10 carems for the Golden Bears.
Rio Grande will look to surpass last season’s win total when they return to action on Monday, Dec. 9, when NCAA Division II Alderson-Broaddus College visits the Newt Oliver Arena for a 6 p.m. tipoff.