Concord Women Drop 57-54 Thriller vs. Fairmont - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Concord Women Drop 57-54 Thriller vs. Fairmont

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ATHENS -

The Concord University women's basketball team was unable to upend Fairmont State University, losing a tight 57-54 decision Saturday afternoon at the Carter Center. The West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest featured 10 lead changes and three ties in a game in which neither team led by more than nine points.

Concord falls to 4-10 overall and 3-5 in the WVIAC with the loss. Fairmont State improved to 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the league play with the win.

Junior guard Amanda Smith led Concord in scoring for the sixth time this season after producing 13 points thanks in large part to a perfect 8-for-8 night from the foul line. Sophomore forward Jacqueline Kestner registered her second consecutive double-digit scoring performance with a career-high 11 points. Kestner's offensive performance featured a 2-for-3 shooting effort from three-point range.

Sophomore guard Stephanie Wagner added eight points to go with a team-best five assists while freshman guard Leslie Mack made a season-high three steals. Senior guard Tanisha Williams came off the bench to grab a team-leading six rebounds.

As a team, Concord shot 29.8 percent (17-for-57) from the field, 40 percent (6-for-15) from three-point range and 70 percent (14-for-20) from the foul line. Defensively, CU had 10 steals, two blocks and forced 14 FSU turnovers. The Fighting Falcons held shooting percentages of 34.9 (22-for-63) from the field, 5.6 (1-for-18) from three-point range and 92.3 (12-for-13) from the charity stripe.

Fairmont State stormed out to an early 8-3 advantage before Concord responded with a 11-5 run that was sparked by four points from both Smith and sophomore forward Rachel Artrip as well as a three-pointer from senior guard Katy Somerville to give the Mountain Lions a 14-13 lead with 12:41 to play in the opening period. Concord extended its lead to as many as nine points (26-17) with five minutes to play in the half before taking a 31-26 lead into the break.

Smith, Kestner and Williams accounted for 20 points in the first 20 minutes of play with nine, six and five points, respectively.

The Falcons chipped away at the Concord lead to start the second half and eventually took a 39-38 lead with 13:16 to play in regulation. The remainder of the half was a frantic affair with both teams trading the lead back-and-forth eight times in a seven-minute stretch that resulted in Fairmont State clinging to a 53-50 lead with five minutes to play.

After seeing FSU's lead grow to 55-50 at the 4:10 mark in the half, the Mountain Lions rallied with Mack draining a jumper and Smith drawing a foul and making both free throws to cut the lead to 55-54 with 1:21 showing on the clock. Concord proceeded to force two defensive stops, but was unable to convert any of its final three shots on offense. Fairmont State added two free throws in the game's final seconds to escape with the 57-54 win.

The duo of Hallie Gunnoe and Kaitlin Snyder led Fairmont State to the win by scoring 16 and 15 points.

The Mountain Lions will look to bounce back from the defeat when they travel to take on Davis & Elkins on Monday (Jan. 14) at 5:30 p.m.