West Liberty shoots past Concord
Malernee adds to Division II record with 391st career 3-pointer
West Liberty Athletics
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – West Liberty missed 21 of its first 28 shots from behind the 3-point arc Saturday afternoon at the ASRC but the Hilltoppers kept shooting and it paid off in a 69-61 victory against upset-minded Concord. West Liberty (16-3, 11-2) swished its last three 3-point shots to break a 55-55 tie and complete a season sweep of the Mountain Lions (9-7, 6-6).
Tori Hansen – who passed the 2,000-point career milestone during Saturday’s game – put the Hilltoppers ahead to stay with a rainbow 3-pointer for a 58-55 lead at the 3:14 mark. Hansen, who never left the court, finished the afternoon with 17 points and 16 rebounds and now has 2,003 points as a Hilltopper.
“The most impressive thing to me about Tori’s 2,000 points are the number of rebounds, assists and steals she contributes,” said head coach Lynn Ullom. “She’s No. 2 all-time in scoring here but she’s also No. 2 in rebounds and steals and in the top five for assists. That’s an incredible level of production.”
After a Meghan Wiseman layup pushed the margin to 60-55, Concord cut it back to 60-58 on a trio of free throws with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Laura Malernee, the leading 3-point shooter in NCAA Division II history, had been struggling with her shot all afternoon but stepped up to bury a deep 3-pointer from well above the top of the key for a 63-58 bulge at 1:32.
After Concord’s Camisha Alexander made a free throw at 1:17, cutting the lead to 60-56, West Liberty ran the shot clock down into single digits before Jenni Robbins stepped back to apply the coup de grace 3-pointer with just 53 seconds remaining.
That stretched the margin to 66-59 and WLU’s Jordan Stacey closed out the game by going 3-for-4 from the foul line the rest of the way.
Malernee had been just 1-of-13 from behind the arc before draining her clutch shot and Robbins hadn’t scored in the second half but Ullom didn’t hesitate to put the ball in his shooters’ hands at crunch time.
“Those girls have hit a lot of big shots in their careers,” Ullom said. “I have all the confidence in the world in them and, more importantly, they have all the confidence in themselves. I thought our late-game offensive execution was excellent. We had great attention to detail in our sets and were able to get good looks for our shooters.”
Robbins tied Hansen for game scoring honors with 17 points – 14 of which came in the first half – while Wiseman added 15 points.
Jolysa Brown had 17 points for Concord while Alexander and Sidney Lindsey weighed in with 15 and 14 points, respectively.