ATHENS, W.Va. – – Ashley Cullen scored a career-high 22 points to lead a quartet of UVa-Wise players in double figure scoring as Kristin Kunzman‘s team finished the game on a 9-4 run to claim a 97-91 Mountain East Conference victory over Concord University Thursday.
Concord (2-13, 1-10 MEC) took its first lead of the game when Alexis Lowery canned a jumper with 4:15 to play to give the Mountain Lions an 84-82 lead.
From that point, UVa-Wise (14-5, 9-2 MEC) took control of the game as senior point guard Taylor Sandidge made four consecutive free throws to give the visitors an 86-84 advantage.
Lowery would get her club back within one by splitting a pair of free throws before Jonesville, Va. native Makenzie Cluseman connected for two of her 19 points to run the lead back to three at 88-85 with 3:03 to play.
The Mountain Lions would again get the lead back to a single point on a Heather Chapman layup only to see Sandidge answer with a bucket of her own to keep it a three-point lead at 90-87 with 2:04 to play.
Emily Boothe tied the game for Concord with a 3-point basket only to see Cluesman answer with an and-one play making the score 93-90 with 1:15 remaining.
Lowery and UVa-Wise’s Kayla Mullins would trade free throws to give Concord the ball down three with 24 seconds to play.
The Mountain Lions would miss a potential game-tying 3-pointer and Cullen would grab the rebound for the Cavaliers. Concord would be whistled for an intentional foul on Cullen, essentially ending the contest.
Cullen would make three of four foul shots in the final seconds to help provide the 97-91 margin.
UVa-Wise got off to a fast start by making 12 of its first 16 shots as Cullen scored eight first quarters to give her club a 26-19 lead after the opening 10 minutes.
The hot shooting for the Cavs continued in the second quarter as the team finished the half by making 20 of its 30 first half attempts.
Concord was nearly equally impressive as the hosts received eight first half points from Lowery and Catron to enter halftime down seven, 49-42.
The Cavs seemingly put the game away with an 18-11 run to close the third quarter to take a 76-66 lead to the fourth period. UVa-Wise used a total team effort in the run as five different Cavs scored, including a pair of 3-pointers from Natalie Boothe.
Concord responded with an 11-2 run of its own to setup the final minute dramatics.
UVa-Wise finished the game shooting 57.1 percent en route to its season-high 97 points. The Cavs dominated the glass, claiming 42 rebounds compared to 28 for the Mountain Lions.
Kunzman’s crew went to the line 35 times and made 25 of the attempts. Sandidge played just 18 minutes due to foul trouble but still netted 16 points while Kayla Carey tallied 15 points to round out double figure scoring for UVa-Wise.
Carey, Cluesman, Adalmaryz Gomez, Mullins and Cullen all had five rebounds to aid the Cavs on the rebounding front.
Cluesman finished with a stat line of 19 points, five rebounds and five assists against just one turnover.
Concord was led by Lowery who scored a career-high 24 points, Catron netted 18 points while Boothe (13) and Taylor Baltimore (10) also posted double figure scoring.
It was the third consecutive win for UVa-Wise over Concord in the series and based off the results of other games in the conference, the Cavs are back in a first place tie.
Charleston visits the Prior Center Saturday for a 2 p.m. tip-off in UVa-Wise’s next contest.
BY UVA WISE