Slow start dooms Rio women

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

MONTGOMERY, W.Va. — Host West Virginia University Tech equaled a season-high with 30 first quarter points and held on down the stretch to post a 92-82 win over the University of Rio Grande, Tuesday night, in Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball action at the Neal Baisi Athletic Center.

The Golden Bears, who suffered a 28-point loss at the hands of the RedStorm just 12 days earlier, improved to 8-11 overall and 3-5 in the KIAC with the upset victory.

Rio Grande, which had a six-game winning streak snapped, fell to 13-6 overall and 6-2 in league play.

The loss, coupled with wins by Indiana University-East and Point Park, also knocked the RedStorm out of the lead in the KIAC’s Colonial Division.

Tech, which entered the game averaging just under 66 points per contest, got nearly half of that figure in the opening quarter, shooting 65 percent from the field en route to a 30-14 lead. The scoring output was the most in a single quarter for the Bears since netting 30 points in the final period of a win over Bluefield State on Nov. 21, 2015.

Rio Grande, on the other hand, shot just under 27 percent from the field and committed 11 turnovers in the opening quarter and, ultimately, never recovered.

It took a long while for things to get better for the RedStorm, as Tech extended what turned out to be a 15-point halftime advantage to as many as 21 points, 57-36, after a bucket by LaKisha Adkins with just under seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Rio did, however, began a methodical comeback effort, closing the gap to 13 points at the close of the third period and drawing to within four points on two occasions in the final 2:40 of the game.

A putback off of an offensive rebound by junior Brooke Marcum (Vinton, OH) with 1:49 remaining cut the Tech lead to 84-80, but a conventional three-point play by Brianna Propst on the Bears’ ensuing possession started a game-ending 8-2 run which sealed the final outcome.

Adkins finished with a game-high 18 points and 11 assists to lead the winning effort for WVU-Tech, while Savannah Shamblin added 17 points and seven assists of her own and Alexandra Combs finished with 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Courtney Fisher and Julie Conway had 12 and 10 points, respectively, to complete the Golden Bears’ quintet of double-digit scorers. Adkins, Combs and Fisher shared team honors with three steals each.

Rio Grande, which equaled or surpassed the 25-turnover mark for the sixth time this season by committing 26 miscues, also had five players finish in double figures.

Freshman Jaida Carter (New Philadelphia, OH) led the group with 17 points, while also handing out a team-high three assists. Junior Sharday Baines (East Cleveland, OH) added 16 points, while Marcum had 14 points to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds and all of the RedStorm’s four steals.

Senior Sarah Bonar (Hartford, OH) had 13 of her 15 points in the second half for Rio, while freshman Megan Liedtke (Beverly, OH) had a career-high 12 points and eight rebounds before fouling out in the closing seconds.

Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday, traveling to Richmond, Ind. to face Indiana-East in a 1 p.m. tipoff at Richmond High School’s Tiernan Center.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing