Lady Toppers and Hilltoppers hope to continue wins against Fairmont

By Josh Smith, Contributing Writer 

The WLU Lady Hilltoppers (1-4, 1-1 MEC) have struggled in the beginning games of the season, but they hope their luck turns around this Sunday also against the Fairmont State Lady Fighting Falcons (3-2, 1-1 MEC). 

The WLU Hilltoppers (6-0, 2-0 MEC) continue to impress as they remain undefeated through their first six games, but the Toppers will have their first major test as they face MEC rival Fairmont State (5-0, 2-0 MEC). The men’s game will be broadcasted nationally as well on TV on the Root Sports channel!

On Dec. 4, Coach Lynn Ullom and his Lady Hilltoppers will travel to Fairmont, W.Va., to take on the Lady Fighting Falcons of Fairmont State at 1:30 p.m.The MEC matchup will be the third conference game of the season for both teams, and the Lady Hilltoppers are hoping to come out on top. The start of the season has been slow for Coach Ullom and his Toppers. After losing three of their top scorers, the Lady Hilltoppers are rebuilding their team. The team consists of seven freshmen who hope to propel the team back to their winning ways. 

The Lady Hilltoppers have shown their dominance over Fairmont State in recent years. Last season, the Toppers were 3-0 against the Falcons, and they have won six of the last eight games between the two. Although the Toppers are struggling, they hope their past success will carry them to a win this weekend. 

womens-basketballThe Toppers have had problems shooting the ball early this season, shooting just under 38 percent as a team, but they have managed to score 67 points a game. As a team, the Toppers are shooting a respectable 34 percent from three-point range, but turnovers have plagued the Lady Hilltoppers. Through five games, they have turned the ball over 123 times, averaging out to about 25 turnovers a game. But the Toppers hope their returning players from last year with help from the impressive number of freshmen will manage to swing their season in the right direction. 

Junior McKenna Shives is the sole Lady Hilltopper who is averaging over 10 points per game. Her three rebounds and two steals per game are helping the Toppers compete in every game they play. She is shooting just under 39 percent from the three-point range and 100 percent from the foul line. If she continues to put up numbers like these, the Lady Toppers can definitely turn this season around. 

womens-basketball1Freshman Monica Bragg has put up impressive numbers for the Lady Hilltoppers so far this season as well. She is averaging 9 points and five rebounds a game. Sophomore Johnie Olkosky has also put up big numbers for the Toppers, scoring 37 points in the last two games. She is averaging 8 points and five rebounds per game, but expect to see big numbers from her in the coming games.

The MEC matchup for men’s will be a battle of two of the top teams in the country: WLU (#1) and Fairmont State (#14). The Falcons have played extremely well through their first five games, but they have only outscored their opponents by a total of 62 points compared to the Topper’s 196; nevertheless, this MEC matchup will be one of the best of the season. 

Last season, the Toppers narrowly escaped with two wins against the Fighting Falcons, outscoring them by only nine points combined for both games. But the Toppers have recently had success when facing the Fighting Falcons. In the last five seasons, the Toppers are 10-2 against Fairmont State. The Toppers hope to continue their dominance and remain undefeated this weekend in Fairmont. 

The Topper’s offense has continued to impress not only from behind the arc, but from the entire court as well. They are shooting a whopping 53 percent from the field and 42 percent from the three-point line, while also shooting a steady 75 percent from the free-throw line. Add that altogether and the Toppers are averaging over 106 points a game. Although the stat sheet has shown balanced scoring by Crutchfield’s Toppers, there are a few who stand out from the rest. 

mens-basketball1Senior Zac Grossenbacher has shined on both ends of the court this season. He is averaging a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds a game, while shooting 53 percent from both the field and three-point line. He is also averaging two blocks a game. With the loss of Seger Bonifant, Grossenbacher needed to use his height to dominate on the court this season. So far, he has done that. 

Senior Devin Hoehn and graduate transfer Dan Monteroso are also filling up the stat sheets. Both are averaging 16 ppg and are shooting well from the field. Hoehn is shooting just above 38 percent from the three and 100 percent from the charity strike. Monteroso is shooting lights-out from the field shooting 66 percent and just under 80 percent from the free-throw line. If the two continue to shoot like this, the duo will be a handful in the backcourt come March. 

Sophomore standout and pre-season All-American, David Dennis is arguably not only one of the best guards in the Mountain East Conference, but in the country as well. Dennis is averaging just over 15 points per game, shooting around 50 percent from the field. But Dennis’s other contributions for the Toppers makes him a menace on the court. While averaging 15 points, he is also averaging five rebounds, six assists and three steals a game. Dennis is the definition of a stat-stuffer. 

The Fighting Falcons also have tremendous athletes on their team. The Falcons have five players averaging over double digits, three of which are averaging over 15 points a game, just like the Toppers. Although WLU has won 10 of the last 12 meetings against Fairmont State, every game seems to be a shootout until the end.

You are not going to want to miss these games! Check out the livestream of both games on


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