By Steve Keenan
The WVU Tech women have made progress as the 2013-14 season winds down.
Looking for proof? Take Saturday’s 81-70 setback to the University of Pikeville in the Baisi Athletic Center.
“We had great improvement,” said Tech coach Jenna Everhart. “They beat us by 35 to 37 (earlier in the season).
“The score (this past weekend) isn’t indicative of how well we played. I’m proud of the positive improvement we’ve made.”
Pikeville blasted the Golden Bears 93-59 on Dec. 7.
It was an entirely different story Saturday.
After falling behind 24-14 early, Tech crept to within five, 46-41, at halftime. The hosts trimmed the deficit to 51-50 on Cheyanna Lusk’s putback with about 15 minutes left, but Pikeville proceeded on a 6-0 spurt to make it 57-50.
A later 3-pointer from Elizabeth Evans pulled Tech to within three, 62-59, with 8:55 to go, but Pikeville’s Cheyenne Madden sparked a 9-0 run that stretched the lead back out. Madden got loose inside for a two-point goal and canned two free throws to make it 68-59, then she had a kick-out assist to teammate Kelah Eldridge for a 3-pointer that advanced the margin to 12, 71-59, with 6:05 left.
Lusk registered a pair of deuces and a charity toss to bring Tech back to within seven, 71-64, but the Golden Bears could get no closer down the stretch. During the closing minutes, Pikeville more often than not beat Tech to loose balls or rebounds, and the hosts had several empty possessions on the offensive end.
While Everhart felt her team’s half-court defense was good, she said they were lacking on the glass.
“They (Pikeville) did a good job on the offensive boards,” she said. “We struggled to box out.”
Tech (5-12) was led by Evans, who recorded a team-high 21 points while going 5-for-9 from 3-point range. Evans, a freshman who averages 9.9 points per game on the year, has scored boosted her output to 15.7 ppg over the last three games.
Lusk, a sophomore from Westside High School, tallied 18 points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, Nia Nolan collected 16 points and handed out five assists, and Noelani Woodson contributed eight points and two boards.