Basketball Lady Bobcats come up just short in road loss to West Virginia State, 76-71

INSTITUTE — Down by 14 points after one quarter of play and behind West Virginia State University by as much as 20 midway in the third quarter, West Virginia Wesleyan College made a valiant comeback attempt in Saturday’s game in Institute but fell short 76-71 with two games remaining in the regular season.

The Lady Bobcats succumbed to the Yellow Jackets substitution bombardment in the first quarter as fresh legs kept the full court press in force to limit Wesleyan to just 11 points to State’s 25. In the first half alone, the Bobcats gave up 20 of its 30 turnover total.

But around the 7:55 mark in the second period and just after State scored to go up 19, the Lady Bobcats began the first part of its comeback attempt. The team pulled within four points with a minute-and-a-half remaining on a three-pointer by Sydney Baird (21 points, 6-of-8 three-pointers) and went into the half down by 11.

The momentum swung in the Yellow Jackets favor in the second half as State, again, used the full press to gain a 20-point advantage with 6:11 left in the third. But the Lady Bobcats scratched back as Courtney Wilfong and Baird helped pull their team to within six points at the end of the third.

The Lady Bobcat defense picked up the pace in the fourth quarter and shots kept falling and suddenly, Wesleyan was down by just five when Emma Witt drove a fastbreak to the rim and got fouled to complete the three-point play with just 35 seconds left to make the score 73-71. A couple of fouls and a couple of missed shots later and the Lady Bobcats fell to 8-15 for the season (5-13 in the MEC).

Other than Baird, three additional Lady Bobcats scored in double digits, all with 12 points: Wilfong (5-of-10 FG), Witt (3-of-11 FG) and M’laya Ainsworth (4-of-4 FG). Desiree Roy added eight points (4-of-9 FG) and nine rebounds.

State’s Destiny Fields led all scorers with 22, going 8-of-12 from the field and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Next up for Wesleyan is the MEC-leading Fairmont State University Falcons who will visit Rockefeller Center Wednesday, Feb. 28 for a 5:30 tip. As the final home game of the season, the Bobcats will present senior night.


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