Lady Toppers prepare for two games in three days

By Josh Smith, Contributing Writer

After a tough home loss against Fairmont State on Saturday, Coach Lynn Ullom and the Lady Hilltoppers (7-15, 6-10 MEC) are hitting the road for two games in a three-day span, beginning with today’s matchup in Athens, W.Va. against Concord University (5-16, 3-13 MEC). 
Today, Feb. 9, the Lady Toppers will travel to southern West Virginia to face the Mountain Lions of Concord University. The Toppers have continued to struggle this season, losing four of the last five games, but they are hoping they can turn things around tonight against Concord. The Toppers beat the Mountain Lions by double digits earlier in the season and look to sweep the season series against them tonight.
Last season, the Lady Toppers swept the Mountain Lions, winning both games by a combined 64 points. The Toppers have also won five of the last six games against Concord. The team hopes their successful past against the Mountain Lions will spark the need to turn their season around beginning today in Athens. 
Following tonight’s game, the Lady Toppers will hit the road again Saturday as they will travel out of the state to face off against the Virginia-Wise Cavaliers. On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Toppers are traveling to one of their furthest games of the season to Wise, Va. The Toppers have played the Cavaliers once already this season and lost 60-79.
Although the Toppers lost to the Cavaliers earlier in the season, they have won nine of the last ten matchups against them. Like tonight’s game against the Mountain Lions, the Toppers hope their recent success with Virginia-Wise will carry them to victory against one of the MEC leaders this season. 
The Toppers continue to struggle finishing games with a win this season, but they have not had trouble putting the ball into the basket. As a team, they are averaging 71 points per game while shooting 41 percent from the field, 34 percent from three-point range, and 74 percent from the free-throw line. Turnovers have troubled the Toppers all season as they average 20 per game, but they hope to overcome this problem this weekend. 
Junior McKenna Shives continues to shine on the court as the most consistent scorer for the Lady Toppers. She is averaging 15 ppg while shooting 35 percent from the field, 34 percent from three, and 80 percent from the free-throw line. Sophomore Marissa Brown is averaging less points than Shives, but is the most efficient scorer on the team. She is averaging 12 ppg while shooting a smooth 61 percent from the field; however, she only plays 20 minutes a game. If her minutes continue to increase, expect huge numbers from Brown in the final games of the season.
Sophomores Brandi Beader and Johnie Olkosky both continue to put points on the board for the Toppers. They are both averaging just under ten ppg, while also filling up the stat-sheet in other categories. Olkosky is pulling in seven rebounds and four assists a game, and she has also pick-pocketed 33 steals on the season. Beader has racked 16 steals and a solid 12 block on the year. 
The Lady Toppers are still searching for their groove to end the season on a good note. They are hoping to find what they are searching for beginning tonight against Concord. Tonight’s match-up against the Mountain Lions tips off at 5:30 p.m., and Saturday’s game at Virginia-Wise tips off at 2:30 p.m. Be sure to watch the livestream  online at

Photo credit: Daniel Morgan