Concord Women Down Pitt-Johnstown, 60-57 - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Concord Women Down Pitt-Johnstown, 60-57

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ATHENS -

The Concord University women's basketball team opened West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play with a win Saturday afternoon at the Carter Center by defeating Pitt-Johnstown 60-57 behind 21 points from junior guard Amanda Smith and a career-high 18 points from sophomore forward Rachel Artrip.

In addition to it being their first conference victory of the season, the win evened the Mountain Lions' overall record to 2-2 on the year. Pitt-Johnstown fell to 0-1 overall and 0-1 in the WVIAC with the loss.

Concord forced Pitt-Johnstown into 19 turnovers thanks in part to eight steals, including four from sophomore forward Jacqueline Kestner. For the game, CU shot 34.9 percent from the field (22-for-63) and 81.3 percent from the foul line (13-for-16).  The Mountain Lions held an 11-9 advantage in points off of turnovers.

Smith and Artrip both finished just shy of double-doubles with Smith grabbing a team-high eight rebounds and Artrip collecting seven rebounds of her own. Smith, who had two steals in the game as well, was 9-of-18 from the floor.

Sophomore guard Stephanie Wagner chipped in 12 points and passed out a game-best five assists while committing just one turnover. Junior center Sammi Webster also added six points and a very timely block. Other contributors included senior guard Katy Somerville with a career-best six rebounds and junior guard Logan Castlebury with two blocks.

In a back-and-forth game that featured 12 ties and 13 lead changes, it was the Mountain Lions who got out to the game's first significant lead with a seven-point advantage (20-13) through the opening 10 minutes of the first half. However, Pitt-Johnstown won the next 10 minutes of play with a 15-6 run to end the half and head into the break with a 28-26 lead.

The Mountain Lions and Mountain Cats traded the lead for the majority of the second half with neither team being able to get more than three points of separation from the other. With a minute to play in the contest, Pitt-Johnstown found itself leading 57-56. However, a jumper in the paint from Smith with 32 seconds remaining in regulation gave Concord a 58-57 edge.

On the ensuing trip down the court Webster made a huge block of Pitt-Johnstown's leading scorer Kaitlyn Fratz (21 points) shot attempt. The now loose ball was picked up by Wagner was fouled, sending her to the foul line with 12 seconds to play and a one-point Concord lead.

As was the case in Wednesday's overtime victory over West Virginia Tech, Wagner calmly sank both foul shots to give Concord the 60-57 advantage. A three-point attempt from Pitt-Johnstown's Leah Hansen fell off the mark with three seconds left, giving CU the victory.

Concord will look to extend its winning streak to three games 5:15 p.m. Tuesday when it travels to play at Alderson-Broaddus.