WEST LIBERTY, W. Va. - The Walsh Cavaliers women's basketball team closed out the 2018 calendar year with a non-conference matchup on the road on Tuesday (Dec. 18) afternoon.
The Cavaliers used a big fourth quarter to defeat the West Liberty University Hilltoppers 86-65. The Cavaliers will go into the holiday break with an 8-4 overall record.
Over the first three minutes, the teams exchanged layups as the game was tied. West Liberty took a 6-4 lead with a layup three and a half minutes in. The Cavaliers responded with a 7-0 run over a three-minute span as they led 11-6. Quionche Carter scored a three-point play while Mayci Sales and Jill Blacksten added two points on the rally. The Hilltoppers trimmed the lead to three with a layup but the Cavaliers ended the first quarter with a 6-2 run. Blacksten scored back-to-back baskets for Walsh as they lead 17-10.
Carter added a layup 45 seconds into the second quarter as the Cavaliers pushed the lead to nine, the largest lead of the first half. West Liberty chipped away at the lead with a 9-2 run over the next four minutes, closing the gap to 21-19. A pair of Hilltopper free throws with 1:25 left put West Liberty up 28-25. Shelby Henkel converted a layup with 1:14 remaining, pulling Walsh within one going into the half. West Liberty led 28-27 at the intermission.
Sales made four consecutive free throws in the opening minutes of the second half as Walsh regained a 31-28 advantage. The Cavaliers and Hilltoppers fought basket for basket as they tied the game eight times in a six-minute period. After West Liberty hit a pair of free throws with 2:45 left, the Hilltoppers led 50-49. Blacksten and Henkel ended the third quarter on a 5-0 run for the Cavaliers as they lead 54-50.
Walsh carried the momentum over into the fourth quarter as they started the quarter with an 8-0 run, creating a 13-0 swing over two quarters. Sales scored four points on the run as the Cavaliers expanded the lead to 62-50 with 7:34 left. Jamie Halloran hit back-to-back three pointers, opening a 16 point advantage, 70-54 with just over five minutes to go. West Liberty scored five straight points, but the offense continued as they ended the game on a 16-6 rally. Hannah Blake made two of Walsh's five three pointers in the final six minutes. Walsh snapped a two-game losing streak with an 86-65 victory.
Sales led the Cavaliers with 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Four other Walsh players joined her in double figures. Blacksten added 16 points on seven field goals along with eight rebounds. Carter scored 14 points while making three steals, a team-high. Henkel went for 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Halloran had ten points with two of the six three pointers for the team.
Walsh shot 49% (33-67) from the floor in the game, including 78% (11-14) in the fourth quarter alone.
Marissa Brown led the Hilltoppers with 29 points and 11 rebounds.
The Cavaliers will return to the hardwood after the New Year, hosting Tiffin University on Thursday, January 3rd at 5:30 PM.