As the season progresses, team depth always comes in handy. WVU Tech showed just how important it is against Asbury.
Playing their third game this week, the Lady Golden Bears got contributions from all 13 players who stepped on the court Saturday. The result was an efficient 104-74 victory over the Lady Eagles.
The win was Tech’s 11th in a row after standing at 6-6 on Dec. 1. The Lady Bears have also won 23 straight River States Conference games.
“I was a little bit worried because this was our third game in five days,” Tech coach Anna Kowalska said. “We had a pretty physical Midway game (a 99-86 overtime win on Thursday) and Asbury is a very good team. So we just came out and made shots, and our bench helped us tremendously. ... We kept running. I told them to keep running and running. I know we were tired, but we need to push it.”
They may have been tired, but it didn’t show.
Tech (17-6, 10-0 RSC) was on from the beginning. Save for a momentary blip in the second quarter, when Asbury used a 15-3 run to get to within 34-32, the Lady Bears stayed in control.
After the Lady Eagles made their threat, Tech outscored them 21-4 to make it a 19-point game and eventually lead 57-39 at halftime.
That moment of reassertion by Tech illustrated how most of the afternoon went. Five players scored in that run in a span of five minutes and only two were starters.
“(Kowalska) talked about having a lot of energy and being a spark off the bench for everybody,” said ShanEttiene Butler, who finished with eight points, three assists and three rebounds in 13 minutes. “It was just about energy. Everybody played and everybody worked together and we got the win.”
Eight non-starters combined for 34 points, 27 rebounds and 11 assists and played 74 minutes. Eugenia Marcelli (12 minutes) had her second straight game with nine rebounds.
“Our bench was definitely a huge help for us today,” Kowalska said.
Of course, the regulars also did their part.
Brittney Justice scored a game-high 27 points and had five assists and five rebounds. Whittney Justice scored 13 of her 16 points in the first half. Point guard Kathylee Pinnock Branford scored 13 points and had seven assists, and Alex Gray had six assists and five rebounds.
Tech had 34 assists on 42 made field goals, turned the ball over just 11 times to 10 steals and outrebounded Asbury 51-42. Tech also shot 50 percent (42-of-84) from the floor.
The Lady Eagles (15-7, 4-5) scored the first six points of the second half but Tech again responded, this time with a 15-3 run to get the lead over 20.
Four 3-pointers — three by Brittney Justice and the other from Whittney Justice — in the final two minutes made it a 30-point final.
Amie Conley led Asbury with 11 points and 11 rebounds and was one of five players to score in double figures. Sarah King scored 15, Autumn Herriford 12, Kelsey Johnson 11 and Faith Osborne 10.
Tech now gets a week off and will host Indiana-Kokomo next Saturday, Feb. 1, in Summersville. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.
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