That best describes the performance Monday evening of Fairmont State’s Lady Falcons in the second half of their 68-41 victory over visiting Pitt-Johnstown at the Joe Retton Arena.
UPJ came into the game having won six of its last seven outings and 10 of its last 13. The only recent setback for the Lady Mountain Cats came by six points to league-leading Glenville State.
Fairmont, on the other hand, had dropped two of its last three and five of its last eight.
On Monday, however, the Lady Falcons returned to form thanks to a suffocating second-half defense that held UPJ to just five field goals and 13 total points.
“I’m really, really proud of our kids tonight for their efforts,” said FSU coach Steve McDonald, who watched his team improve to 15-8 overall and to 13-5 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. “We had
an idea of what we wanted to do tonight defensively against them, but no matter what you design if your players don’t buy into it and don’t execute it, then it doesn’t work. Tonight they really bought into what we wanted them to do and played extremely hard. I think this was probably our best half of defense that we’ve played in my 13 years here, especially given the fact that Pitt-Johnstown is a very good basketball team and was playing very well coming in here.”
Fairmont held UPJ to a 5-of-32 shooting performance in the second half (15.6 percent) and held the league’s second-leading scorer Kaitlynn Fratz, who came into the contest averaging 19.6 points per outing, to zero points for the first time in her college career. Her previous season-low of points this season was nine. Fratz did not play in the game’s final nine minutes.
“We haven’t been playing very good defense lately and tonight we all got together and realized that we needed to play good defense to win,” said FSU’s Tiffany Nicholson, who finished with 12 points, three steals and three rebounds. “When we play defense like we did tonight we’re just a much better all-around team. Good defense leads to good offense for us.”
Fairmont opened an 18-6 lead early on UPJ only to watch the Lady Mountain Cats explode on a 17-3 run to take a short-lived 23-21 lead with 3:33 left in the opening half. The teams then settled for a 28-28 tie at the break.
In the second half FSU senior point guard Kaitlin Snyder wasted no time keying a game-changing 16-5 run during the first 7:30 to help the Lady Falcons open a 44-33 advantage with 12:32 remaining.
After that, the contest wasn’t close. Snyder scored 10 of her game-high 21 points on the run.
“Our full-court pressure defense really helped us tonight,” said Snyder, who also grabbed eight rebounds in the win. “Tiffany got a lot of steals for us off of that and everyone contributed tonight, which was a key. We needed this win. We were coming off of a bad loss to State and we needed to get back on track.
“Everything clicked for us offensively and defensively. We spread things out a little more on offense and I think that helped us. We knew Pitt-Johnstown had a very good team. We played them early on and only beat them by three. We knew they had a couple of very good players and we tried to key in on them and take them away, and for the most part I think we did a good job of that.”
FSU’s Hailey Garrett, who finished with 18 points and five rebounds, agreed.
“We knew we had to get a win tonight and we knew we had to play hard to do it,” said Garrett, who tallied 10 of her points in the second half. “We definitely did that. This win kind of re-motivated us.
“We’ve got to pick it up here during the remainder of the regular season, play like we know we can play, and I think we’ll be fine.”
Hallie Gunnoe chipped in eight points and eight rebounds for FSU, while Emily Lohr grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and had three points.
UPJ, which entered the game just one spot behind FSU in the league standings, fell to 13-8 overall and to 11-8 in the WVIAC. The Lady Mountain Cats were led by Nicole Carmen, who had 13 points, and Inaya Stephenson, who finished with 10.
FSU, which remained third in the conference standings, will host Alderson-Broaddus in its next outing Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Joe Retton Arena. The Lady Battlers have won three of their last four games.
FSU, MVB team up for successful tournament
The Falcons and MVB paired to complete th 21st annual MVB-Fairmont State Athletic Association Golf Tournament at the Bridgeport Country Club on Friday.
Fairmont State’s mission during the event was to sell out, so thar FSU could raise as much money as possible for the athletic department.
Trefz wins state title in 3,200 meter
Winning it all.
Fairmont Senior’s senior phenom Nick Trefz can now call himself a state champion in track.
Trefz took home the gold in the 3,200 meters in Charleston on Friday with a time of 9:36.21.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Flying WV logo draws attention outside country
Sometimes you hit a nerve, as we did a while back when we wrote about the wide reach of West Virginia University’s flying WV logo.
It has meant a lot to a lot of people.
Seahawks’ Bruce Irvin suspended four games
Bruce Irvin, one of only two West Virginia University defensive linemen ever to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft, will miss the first four games of the 2014 National Football League season because of a failed test for performance-enhancing drugs.
WVU falls to Oklahoma State, 5-0
The West Virginia University baseball dropped its fifth consecutive game with a 5-0 loss to No. 16 Oklahoma State on Friday evening at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
Polar Bears cruise past Notre Dame
Polar Bear baseball gets it done yet again.
During exhibition play against Notre Dame on Friday evening, Fairmont Senior was able to keep its eight-game winning streak alive.
Reaves rejoins Carey as an assistant coach
Mike Carey has run through a lot of assistant basketball coaches during his time at West Virginia University, so it comes as no surprise that he has started repeating assistants.
Carey announced on Friday that Sharrona Reaves has returned as an assistant on his West Virginia staff.
Crosby leads Penguins to win over Senators
Sidney Crosby had his second career playoff hat trick and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Brenden Morrow added his first playoff goal in more than five years, Tomas Vokoun made 19 saves and the Penguins rode their superstar captain to their fourth straight victory.
Dropped fly ball gives Pirates 5-4 win over Astros
Jimmy Paredes dropped Russell Martin’s bases-loaded fly ball when he collided with second baseman Jake Elmore with two outs in the ninth inning, the second missed catch by a Houston right fielder, and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied past the Astros 5-4 Friday night.
Tyler Walter making most of opportunity in college
Take the opportunity and run.
That’s exactly what former Fairmont Senior first baseman Tyler Walter did during his freshman season at Hagerstown Community College in Maryland.
“I wanted to get an opportunity and needed to prove that I belonged,” Walter said.
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