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Basketball Lady ‘Cats fall late in finale to Senators, 71-67

ELKINS, W.Va. – The West Virginia Wesleyan women’s basketball team closed the 2022-23 season with a heartbreaking loss at Davis & Elkins 71-67 on Saturday. The Senators shot 47% from the field and 11-13 (85%) from the free throw line in the win.

Ellie Wilkerson got the scoring started with a layup after Imani Jackson missed a jumper on the other end. Daveona Hatchell’s free throw and transition layup put the Lady Bobcats in the scoring column. Courtney Wilfong drained a three before the commercial timeout to tie it at 6-6 midway through the first. Both offenses picked up the pace to end the quarter and Emma Witt scored seven points in a row as the Lady Bobcats trailed 19-14 after one.

Shelby Genes knocked down back-to-back threes to trim the Senators lead just minutes into the second quarter. Layups by Witt and Wilfong put the Lady Bobcats up 25-24. Both teams traded buckets for the remainder of the half, exchanging one-point leads and a Witt layup with 18 seconds left allowed Wesleyan to lead 33-32 at halftime.

D&E’s Taylor Smith carried the momentum from her 12-point opening half to the second half as she opened up with another layup. Witt had 13 points in the first half and also opened up the new half with a score. The Senators went up three but Wilfong connected from deep to tie it at 42 all halfway through the third quarter. Davis & Elkins was held scoreless in the final three minutes of the quarter with the Lady Bobcats scoring eight unanswered to go up 53-49 into the fourth quarter.

Witt’s and-1 put Wesleyan up 57-49 with just under seven minutes left in the game. Five unanswered by the Senators made it a two-point game but Genes knocked down a big three to put the Lady Bobcats back up five. Both teams went over two minutes without scoring until D&E scored a quick four points to make it 62-61 with 2:21 left. Smith hit a three to retake the lead for the Senators.

In the final minute, Davis & Elkins led by two and M’laya Ainsworth tied it up at 67 with 23 seconds left. Madison Butler laid in the winning basket with 13 seconds remaining in the game and then closed it out at the free throw line for the Senators.

Smith finished with 22 points and Butler had 20 points. Smith drained four threes and Butler was crucial down the stretch at the free throw line, going 6-7 for the game. Wilkerson added 13 points, five rebounds and five assists.

The Lady Bobcats were led by Witt’s 29 points. Genes and Wilfong added 12 points each. Hatchell finished with seven points and eight rebounds in the loss.

Wesleyan finishes the season (5-20) overall and (4-18) in MEC play, just missing out on the MEC Tournament in 11th place.

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