The final West Virginia Conference women's basketball tournament kicks off today with seven on-site games determining which teams advance to the quarterfinals on Wednesday at the Charleston Civic Center.
No. 1 Glenville State received a first-round bye and will await the winner of No. 9 Charleston at No. 8 Pitt Johnstown, which is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip.
After defeating UC on Saturday, No. 6 West Virginia State will host No. 11 West Virginia Wesleyan at 7 tonight.
Yellow Jackets coach David Smith guided State to a 9-2 mark down the stretch, helping State go from 4-11 to hosting a postseason game.
While the Jackets in no way want to pat themselves on the back just yet, Smith admitted that getting a first-round game within the comforts of Fleming Hall is an accomplishment that stretches beyond his team.
"It's not only for this team, it's the whole program," Smith said. "We have a winning record now in the conference, which they haven't had for years, we're getting to host a home game, we're at 13-13 for the regular season - it's just huge for the program because we're out here trying to recruit. High school seniors, when you win three or four games, they're not too interested in coming into that kind of program. Now we've beaten the West Libertys, Fairmonts, Charlestons, and we can say, 'We beat them, we can play with them.' Now these kids are starting to believe."
Meanwhile, Charleston is faced with a lengthy road trip after dropping four of its last six games and falling into the No. 9 spot.
After the Golden Eagles' blowout loss to State on Saturday, coach Adam Collins was far from confident moving into the postseason.
"Obviously if we can't get up and play in this game, we're probably not going to get up to play [in the playoffs]," Collins said. "It is what it is.
"As a collective unit, we did not show up to play together and it has become a consistent thing coming down the stretch."
Pitt Johnstown earned an 83-69 win at Eddie King Gym on Feb. 9 in the teams' only meeting of the year.
State lost its only game of the season against Wesleyan 57-51 in Institute on Jan. 7. That loss capped a seven-game losing streak for the Yellow Jackets.
Elsewhere, No. 2 West Liberty hosts No. 15 Ohio Valley; No. 3 Fairmont State hosts No. 14 Wheeling Jesuit; No. 4 Davis & Elkins hosts No. 13 Alderson-Broaddus; No. 5 Seton Hill hosts No. 12 Concord; and No. 7 Shepherd hosts No. 10 Bluefield State.
For a full list of pairings, see page 2B.
Glenville also landed two players on the first team as Ginny Mills and Kenyona Simmons represented the Pioneers. Fairmont State (Kaitlin Snyder and Hailey Garrett) and Seton Hill (Paige Alviani and Katie Gattuso) also put a pair of players on the first team, while West Virginia State's Jasmine Blanton and Pitt Johnstown's Kaitlynn Fratz joined Southworth to round out the squad.
Charleston's Jessi Cowden earned second-team honors.