The NCAA Division II women's team at Glenville State gave its best effort on the road Tuesday night, taking an early lead on D-I Liberty before losing 93-75. Last season when these teams met, the Flames won 86-45, so it's easy to see how much coach Bunky Harkleroad's bunch has closed the gap in the past year.
The Pioneers (3-4) scored five unanswered points to take a 14-9 lead, thanks to a 3-pointer from Kenyell Goodson and two free throws from Tenisha Wilson. That's when Liberty (3-4) went on a back-breaking 31-6 run to take control, and the margin was 22 at the break (49-27).
But Glenville State was far from done, getting back within 15 on a couple of occasions, the final time on a layup from Mishae Miles midway through the second half. And the lead could have immediately gotten smaller, too, when Wilson got a steal shortly after Miles' basket. Wilson missed a 3 that was rebounded by the Flames, and Beth Deren quickly got the ball back for the Pioneers with a steal of her own.
Her shot from beyond the arc also missed, and when Tolu Omotola got inside for a putback on the other end, Liberty led 74-57 and held control for the rest of the game.
Coach Harkleroad saw some great things from his team. The Pioneers forced 35 turnovers (23 steals) and grabbed 25 rebounds on the offensive end (45 percent). The shooting woes still were there; they shot only 2-for-22 on 3-pointers in the first half and improved only slightly after the break, going 5-for-24. All in all, 15 percent just won't get it done against a superior opponent.
Here are the complete Formula stats:
- Attempted 82 shots
- Attempted 46 3-pointers
- Rebounded 25 of the misses on offense
- Forced 35 turnovers
- Attempted six more shots than Liberty
Wilson must have been electric. She finished with 23 points and four steals and teammate Autumn Davis added 15 points. Deren also had four steals and Davis and Miles collected three apiece.
Glenville State returns to the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Thursday, continuing its marathon season-opening road trip at Bluefield State, the eighth consecutive game away from home for Coach Harkleroad's squad. And some good news: I will be in attendance!
Yep, I will be making the trek up U.S. Highway 52 and Interstate 77 to cover the game. In person. Really. It should be a blast, and I'm looking forward to it. Check back for a report Friday.
Also on Tuesday, the NAIA women's team at Olivet Nazarene saw its four-game winning streak end with a tough 99-96 loss at McKendree, which was ranked 25th in the preseason NAIA coaches' poll. The Tigers, coached by Doug Porter, also finished 7-for-46 from the line in this one, matching the effort hundreds of miles away from Glenville State. Would have thunk it?
ONU led by 10 early in the second half after two free throws from Miranda Geever made it 64-54 before the Bearcats rallied. After Jessica Steinmetz got inside for a hoop to make it 80-80 with 6:36 left, McKendree got its first lead since the first half on a free throw by Leann Voss.
The lead grew to seven before the Tigers bounced back, and it was nip-and-tuck down the stretch. The Bearcats were up 98-93 in the final minute when Geever made the first of two shots at the line, but teammate Simone Coburn got the rebound and scored to make it 98-96.
With 29 seconds remaining, McKendree's Katie Fullerton was fouled by Danielle Pipal and converted 1-of-2 for a three-point edge. Holly Schacht and Pipal each missed shots in the final 15 seconds, with Pipal's a 3 that would have forced overtime. Tough way to lose, sounds as if it was a great game.
Here are ONU's Formula stats:
- Attempted 101 shots
- Attempted 46 3-pointers
- Rebounded 27 of the misses on offense (41 percent)
- Forced 39 turnovers (23 steals)
- Attempted 19 more shots than the Bearcats
Danielle Tolbert led the Tigers with 17 points and Pipal was her usual dominant self, finishing with 11 points, eight assists, three rebounds and five steals. Coburn had an efficient 10 points, taking only four shots. And, per The System, no one played more than Jaimie Buckman's 17 minutes and 13 got at least 10 minutes on the floor, with three others going 9 minutes. Pretty impressive.
Finally, ONU heads home, hosting the Holiday Inn Express CCAC Challenge on McHie Arena. The games won't be very easy, though, with a matchup Friday night with No. 14 Trevecca Nazarene followed by a visit Saturday from the top-ranked team in the country, two-time defending national champ Union. Nice scheduling, Coach Porter!
Good luck to him and his team, and I'll provide updates when I have them.