Sophomore guard Jasmin Kiley scored 13 of her 22 points in the final 9 minutes here Monday night and the West Liberty University women pulled away to an 89-75 victory against West Virginia State in Mountain East Conference action at the ASRC.
"Jasmin's had a good season to this point," head coach Lynn Ullom said. "She's sneaky quick taking the ball to the basket and also shoots the ball well from the perimeter. The key to tonight's game for us was that we scored about 75 percent of the time when we made the extra pass to get the real good shot and only about 25 percent of the time when we settled for an average shot."
The Hilltoppers (3-3, 2-0) stumbled out of the gates and the Yellow Jackets (3-2, 1-1) dominated the early going, taking their biggest lead of the night, 22-11, on a driving layup by Lexy Carson with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Jenn Mohney caught fire for the hosts late in the half, scoring 10 of her 22 points – including a pair of big 3-pointers – in the final 3 minutes as WLU closed the first half with a 16-4 rush to take a 45-38 lead into the locker room.
"That's going to be the story for us this year," Ullom said. "It's basketball by committee. Jenn didn't score a point at Charleston on Saturday (an 84-80 West Liberty win) but then she bounced back with 22 tonight. We're having a different kid step up for us every game and that's a great thing to have."
The Hilltoppers struggled to maintain their momentum when play resumed and State used an extended 17-5 run to go up, 59-55, on an Asia Greenleaf rebound hoop with 12:39 remaining.
"I thought we came out a little flat early in the game and again at the start of the second half," Ullom said. "That's something we need to correct but I will say one thing about this group of kids. We saw it down at Charleston on Saturday and again tonight. They seem to play better when the game gets tight. They love to compete."
The Hilltoppers went ahead to stay, 62-61, when Mohney outraced the entire Yellow Jacket squad for a run out layup off a long pass from Kailee Howe as the clock ticked past the 10-minute mark. That was part of a 12-3 West Liberty run that turned the 4-point deficit into a 67-62 lead on a pair of Kiley free throws with 8:22 to play.
State managed to stay within range for the next few minutes, trailing just 77-71, with 4:15 remaining, but Kiley splashed home a pair of free throws and followed that up with a dagger of a 3-pointer from the right corner – off a dazzling kick out pass from Howe – to push the margin into double figures at 82-71 and the issue had been decided.
Mohney and Kiley shared team scoring honors with 22 points while Howe – the reigning MEC Player of the Week after a 36-point explosion at Charleston – added 13 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds. Freshman Emily Bucon impressed off the bench with 14 points, 6 rebounds and a pair of steals in relief of Liz Flowers, who managed 10 points and 5 rebounds despite missing most of the first half due to foul problems.
Carson led all scorers with a game-high 26 points in a losing cause for the Yellow Jackets.
"This wasn't a pretty win," Ullom said, "but they all look the same in the record book. There's nothing better than going into Thanksgiving break unbeaten in the conference."
West Liberty will be idle until Dec. 5 when they travel to Notre Dame (OH) for a 5:30 p.m. game.