Women’s Basketball defeats Charleston, falls to No. 1 Glenville and Concord

When the West Liberty University Women’s basketball team began this season, they knew there was going to be a long season ahead of them, with many highs and lows and speed bumps they had to manage. The season for the Lady Toppers began fantastic, with key victories against out of conference opponents and with Mountain East Conference (MEC) foes. However, as of late, the longevity of the basketball season is starting to keep up with the black and gold, signifying the need to regroup and finish the season the way it started.

If there is one word to describe this youthful Hilltopper squad, it would be pure grit. Fans who regularly watch the WLU Women’s Basketball team would know the amount of effort they exert on a daily basis. As of late, West Liberty unfortunately fell to West Virginia State in Institute, W.Va. However, the response the team received from support casts, and how that support translated to their play against the University of Charleston on Feb. 5, showcased what this team can become.

In their previous meeting, West Liberty outlasted Charleston in overtime, in what was an incredibly fought matchup. This one was no exception, with punch after punch thrown. The Lady Toppers extended a lead early, and maintained it for most of the game, but the end of the third/beginning of the fourth saw Charleson respond, and eventually took a lead over WLU. After many lead changes, West Liberty secured a single point edge over Charleston, courtesy of incredible efforts down the stretch from Freshman Baillee Smith, along with clutch free throws from Karly McCutcheon following the injury to Arriiana Manzay. With only four seconds remaining in the game, the Hilltoppers needed a big time defensive stop, and got just that, outlasting their conference foe in the ultimate, “put up, or shut up” game.

While success was found in the state’s capital, it was also important to remember that this part of the schedule marked the hardest for West Liberty, who was met by the #1 team in the entire nation, Glenville State College. West Liberty played absolutely fantastic in the matchup held at the ASRC, but had a couple mishaps down the stretch, leading to the capitalization of GSC to prove victorious.

The team then traveled to Concord University and unfortunately fell to the hands of defeat, marking only the second time this season West Liberty had lost back-to-back games. Currently sitting at 16-8, the season is far from over for the team. However, they will have to respond yet again in their four remaining games against Frostburg State University, Fairmont State University, Notre Dame College and Wheeling University. Hoping that everything goes according to plan, WLU can be set up nicely heading into the highly anticipated Mountain East Conference Championships.

In a league that is as unpredictable as ever, with teams appearing as if they have settled down and secured themselves, game after game has proven that this is simply not true. While it is incredibly fun to watch teams continuously sucker punch each other any chance they get, it is also very stressful as a fan of the sport. However, make no mistake, in a game of uncertainty, this Hilltoppers squad in particular will be carried to where they need to be, not only through their talents, but with their mindsets and drive to win.