No. 2 West Liberty survives in double overtime
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Trailing late in regulation and both overtimes, second-seeded West Liberty rode the clutch play of two freshmen to an 88-87 double-overtime victory over Shepherd in the West Virginia Conference women's tournament quarterfinals Wednesday at the Civic Center.
With conference player of the year Hillary Southworth on the bench with five fouls, freshmen Jasmin Kiley and Liz Flowers took over the game, scoring 18 of the Hilltoppers' final 24 points.
West Liberty trailed 68-64 with less than two minutes left in regulation when Kiley hit what turned out to be the game's key basket. Hilltoppers coach Lynn Ullom called for a play designed to get the freshman open deep in the left corner. Kiley buried the shot to pull her team within a point, and Flowers canned two late free throws to send the contest into overtime.
"[Kiley's shot is] a play we've had in our arsenal for years and years, and we didn't put it in until that timeout today," Ullom said. "It's the first time we ran it all season. It got her a look and she knocked it down."
Shepherd scored the first five points in overtime and led 76-71 with 1:05 remaining, but once again Kiley took over. She coolly canned two pairs of free throws in the next 26 seconds, and senior Emily Blevins hit a layup to put West Liberty ahead 77-76.
Shepherd's Priscilla Moseh had a chance to give the Rams a lead with 21 seconds left, but missed the front end of a double-bonus.
Flowers scored five of the Hilltoppers' nine points in the second overtime, including a layup and free throw with 1:17 left for an 88-85 lead. West Liberty got the ball back when Shepherd's Alex Weakland missed a layup in traffic with 45 seconds remaining, but the Hilltoppers couldn't capitalize.
Weakland's steal and layup with nine seconds left cut the margin to 88-87, but West Liberty iced the game by playing keep-away in its own backcourt until the buzzer sounded.
Shepherd senior Emily Daniel had what both coaches called "a phenomenal game" to close out her career. The Shady Spring native made 8 of 15 field-goal attempts, went 8 for 8 from the free-throw line and yanked down 20 rebounds.
Moseh had 20 points, Gabby Finchum 12 and Jimyse Brown 10 for the Rams, who finished the season with a 14-14 record.
Southworth led West Liberty with 27 points. Flowers added 21, Meghan Wiseman 14 and Kiley 11 for the 21-7 Hilltoppers.
West Liberty won the game despite being out-rebounded by 25. Ullom said he can't recall one of his teams ever winning a game while being so badly beaten on the boards, but added that 25 Shepherd turnovers probably helped make it possible.
The victory moved the Hilltoppers into Friday's 1 p.m. semifinal against No. 3 Fairmont State, which dispatched of No. 11 West Virginia Wesleyan 65-54 in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
Reach John McCoy at email@example.com or 304-348-1231.