Highly ranked Glenville State moves on
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Back on Feb. 20, a cloud appeared on the Glenville State women's basketball season.
The Pioneers, now ranked No. 9 in the USA Today Division II coaches poll, traveled to Wheeling Jesuit and fell in overtime 77-74.
On Thursday, though, in the quarterfinals of the Mountain East Conference tournament at the Charleston Civic Center, Glenville dissipated that cloud. The Pioneers rained 3-pointers on the Cardinals in the second half and poured it on, winning 75-53 and advancing to Saturday's semifinals against West Virginia State.
"Coming into [Thursday's] game we definitely had a big chip on our shoulders," said Glenville's Ginny Mills, a second-team All-MEC pick. "For sure."
It wasn't difficult to decipher Wheeling Jesuit's game plan: slow down a team that averaged 99.8 points heading into the contest.
The Cardinals were successful in the first half, holding the Pioneers to 31 points and 14.3-percent 3-point field goal shooting (1 of 7). In the second half, though, the Glenville depth, on-ball pressure, success in the paint and long-ball shooting proved too much for WJU.
"I'm happy we were able to come out and be focused from the start," said first-year Glenville coach Charles Marshall.
The Pioneers seemed to be taking complete control from the outset with an 8-0 lead on a Kenyell Goodson follow, leading to a timeout by Wheeling Jesuit coach Debbie Buff at 16:56.
Glenville, however, wasn't hitting its 3-point shots, which kept Wheeling Jesuit in the game. The problems for WJU: 12 turnovers, Glenville's eight steals and an eye-opening number (10) of Pioneer scorers.
Then, in the second half, the Glenville treys began to drop and Wheeling Jesuit began to steadily fall. You could almost track WJU's demise by the Pioneers' converted 3-pointers.
Mills hit two treys at the second half's outset and Glenville moved from a 31-24 halftime lead to a 37-27 advantage. Mills hit one at 13:36 and Glenville was up 44-31. Ashleigh Fossett canned one at 10:35 and it was 49-34. And so on.
The Pioneers (26-3) extended the lead to 29 with 3:13 left before settling for the final numbers. They rolled up 17 steals and recorded 30 points off 22 Wheeling Jesuit turnovers.
"We didn't have the press we normally do," Marshall said. "Wheeling held the ball. But we wanted to control the tempo. I think we did a wonderful job of that."
"We played fast," Mills said. "But we weren't out of control. It wasn't our normal go, go, go."
Mills hit 6 of 9 treys in the second half and finished with a game-high 19 points. Teammate Tasia Bistow added 15.
Taneka Lewis led Wheeling Jesuit with 14 points, but on 4-of-15 shooting from the floor. WJU finishes the season 15-13.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.