The Fayette Tribune
RIO GRANDE, Ohio —
Brooke Marcum recorded her second straight double-double and Brianna Thomas filled up the stat sheet in just about every category, as the University of Rio Grande women’s basketball team captured their first Bevo Francis Invitational Tournament Championship since the 2010-2011 season with a 81-73 victory over West Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon in Newt Oliver Arena.
The RedStorm (5-0) continued to march toward the best start since the aforementioned season, as they were battle-tested throughout and found themselves trailing — albeit early in the first half — for the first time this season.
“After losing in the first round of the tournament last year, I’m excited and happy for a win,” Rio Grande head coach David Smalley said. “I was anxious to see how we would handle the pressure down the stretch and, even though we never really were down, I thought we held our composure when facing foul trouble to some of our key players. We didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing, but we played well enough to get the victory.”
Marcum, a freshman from Vinton, Ohio, followed up her career-night of 18 points and 10 rebounds with a 13-point, 10-rebound outing, earning her all-tournament team honors.
Thomas, a junior from Maplewood, N.J., registered 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals en route to earning tournament MVP honors.
WVU Tech (1-5) fought the RedStorm virtually point-for-point until an 18-18 tie with seven minutes in the first half was extinguished with a 20-8 Rio Grande run to end the half.
Although the hosts enjoyed their largest lead, 20 points, midway through the second half, the Golden Bears continued to battle and pulled the game as close as six points but were unable to overcome the deficit.
Joining Marcum and Thomas with tourney honors was freshman Alexis Payne, a 2013 Valley High graduate, who scored a career-high 13 points in the contest.
Sophomore Sarah Bonar also cracked the double-digit scoring column with 11 points, as well as pulling down six rebounds.
Tech was led on the night by Nia Nolan, who netted game-high 31 points and grabbed eight rebounds to earn all-tournament honors. Teammate Cheyanna Lusk scored 14 points and also earned all-tournament honors. Elizabeth Evans added nine points and Tracee Mitchel had eight.
On the opening day, the Bears handled Midway (Ky.) College 80-73 to advance.
Mitchel came off the bench to score a career-high 20 points as well as grab eight boards to pace the Tech effort. Lusk contributed 18 points and nine rebounds, and Nolan had 16 points and eight assists.
Roche Wimberly pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, tallied nine points and blocked five shots. She is currently fourth in NAIA Division I in blocks per game (2.6).
Earlier last week, the Tech women fell 90-76 to Seton Hill University.
For the Bears, Lusk had 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four turnovers. Nolan had 16 points, Mitchel 12 and Evans 11.
Paige Alviana scored 25 to pace Seton Hill.
This past Tuesday, Tech earned an 85-33 win over WVU Parkersburg.
Six Tech players had double-digit scoring, led by Nolan’s 20 points. Cierra Mobley added 13, Evans and Lusk scored 12 each, and Wimberly and Mitchel had 10 each.
Rio Grande and WVU Tech will face off again at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4 when the RedStorm visit Montgomery.
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The WVU Tech men’s basketball team posted recent victories over WVU Parkersburg, Ohio Mid-Western and West Virginia State University to improve to 6-1 on the season.
On Tuesday night, Tech built up a 60-24 lead at intermission and posted a 111-70 victory over visiting WVU Parkersburg.
Brandon Burgraff was on fire for Tech, netting 31 points on 10-of-15 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. Jauries Thomas tossed in 18 points and claimed 15 rebounds, Armond Perez scored 17, Floyd Campbell had 15 points and seven boards, Jaren Marino supplied 10 points, and Leon Cooper Jr. had seven points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Keith Penn scored 21 to lead WVU Parkersburg.
The Golden Bears cruised to a 61-25 halftime lead against Ohio Mid-Western Saturday en route to a 101-63 triumph.
Thomas led the way with a 23-point, nine-rebound effort. Burgraff tallied 19 points to support him, and Cooper and Eddie Gordon supplied 11 points each for the balanced Tech effort.
Marino recorded nine points and six rebounds, Campbell added eight points and eight rebounds, and Ra’Shaud Kincaid dished out seven assists.
OMW was led by Michael Thompson’s 14 points.
Earlier last week, Tech eased by former West Virginia Conference foe West Virginia State 95-90 at the Baisi Athletic Center.
Cooper tallied a game-high 21 points to power Tech, which built up a 49-40 halftime lead and held off the Yellow Jackets down the stretch. Also providing double-digit scoring were: Burgraff (20), Marino (13), Kincaid (11), Thomas (11) and Campbell (10).
Anton Hutchins scored 21 for State, while Dominic Phillips tossed in 19.
(Editor’s note: The information for this story was supplied by the Rio Grande and WVU Tech sports information offices.)