The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

February 9, 2014

Concord women drop fourth straight, 64-54 to Cardinals

ATHENS — Ice-cold shooting and lack of rebounding hampered the Concord University women’s basketball team at the Carter Center on Saturday afternoon in its fourth loss in a row, 64-54 to the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals.

Concord (9-12, 7-10 Mountain East) made less than a quarter of their field-goal tries and managed only six baskets in the second half, while getting out-rebounded 49 to 34.

With the help of 17 defensive rebounds in the first half, Wheeling Jesuit (11-10, 8-9) kept control of the ball and found open routes to lay-ups through a porous CU defense.

After the Cardinals took a 16-7 lead with 8:10 gone in the game, Concord began a deliberate comeback. Three-pointers by Melea Smith, Rachel Artrip and Leslie Mack highlighted an 18-6 CU run to end the first half — in which the Cardinals went 0-for-6 from the field in the last six minutes before halftime.

Wheeling Jesuit made 8 of 12 free throws in the final two minutes, and a field goal at the buzzer, to close out its second road win in a three-day trip.

Cardinals head coach Debbie Buff said, “We got three of our kids in early foul trouble, so we stopped going inside. The second half, we really tried to pound it, inside.”

Concord dropped to 3-6 at home this year. Three of its starters failed to score from the field.

 “We had three starters go ‘oh-fer,’ ” said Concord head coach Kenny Osborne, who singled out “the inability to make lay-ups and free throws. We’re our own worst enemy.”

Buff said, “Both teams were not in-sync offensively, but we went to the line 35 times, so I thought we were very aggressive on our attack. ... We held them to 23 second-half points.”

Andrea Bertrand led Concord with 16 points, making half of her eight field-goal attempts. She also had three of Concord’s 12 steals. The Mountain Lions forced 20 WJU turnovers while coughing the ball up only nine times. Artrip notched 11 points.

The Cardinals’ Breanna Butler, after going scoreless in the first half, led her team with 14 points and seven rebounds. Jalia Bryant scored 13 points. The Cardinals got 28 points in the paint and 20 from their reserves.

Buff said, “We talked about playing energized, and really locking down on defense.”

Concord attempts to halt its losing streak on Thursday at the University of Charleston (14-7), followed by a contest next Saturday at W.Va. State (14-9).

Osborne said about Charleston, “We lost to them by about five here, and didn’t play very well. They’re very talented. We did beat State here; State’s probably (fielding) one of their most outstanding teams. We’ll have our hands full in those two away games.”

NOTE: At halftime, the Concord athletics department announced a donation of $5,000 to the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University.

The money was raised through a campus campaign called “Pink Strong” that was created by Concord women’s soccer coach Stefani Workman, a breast cancer survivor.

The afternoon was also designated as “Play 4 Kay” games, part of a national awareness campaign about breast cancer that is run by the Kay Yow Foundation.

Two breast cancer survivors, Heyda Ortiz and Susan Weikle, walked to midcourt at halftime and were applauded by the crowd, quite a few of whom were wearing pink to support the initiatives.

— E-mail: tbone@bdtonline.com and follow on Twitter @BDTBone

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