Wheeling, W. Va. – As they head into the final month of regular season play, the Wheeling University Women’s Basketball team (12-8, 10-4) is looking to get momentum on their side for the Mountain East Conference (MEC) tournament stretch run. They start the month with a tough road trip as they head down to Charleston on Wednesday night with tip-off at 5:30 PM. Each of their next two games come against teams currently ahead of them in the standings as they look to make their case for the top spot in the conference.
Last time out, the Cardinals had a rebound outing as they went on the road and took down Davis & Elkins 81-73. The Cardinals offense took some time to get going early, scoring six points in the first six minutes, but the defense kept them in it as they trailed 20-19 after one. However, the offense would go full bore the rest of the game, scoring 20+ points in each of the final three quarters of play. Their best showing of the night came in a 22-point second quarter as the team went into halftime leading 42-33. The Senators would battle back to make it close, outscoring the Cardinals 23-20 over the final 10 minutes of play, but Wheeling was able to hold on for their 10th conference win of the year 81-73 as they kept pace in the battle for the number one seed in the tournament.
After getting off to a slow start, the Cardinals needed a spark off the bench and got just that from freshman Hannah Archer. Archer scored a career-high 15 points in the game while spending a career-high 19 minutes on the floor. Archer was lethal from three-point range on the night, hitting 55.5% of her shots from beyond the arc (5-9). The three-pointers accounted for all 15 of her points on the night and before the end of the second quarter, she put up three straight three-pointers to help Wheeling build their nine-point halftime lead. It was the second time this season that Archer has been in double digits, and she looks to continue to provide that spark off the bench for her team.
Senior Lauren Calhoun continued her offensive tear, picking up her 13th double-double of the season, finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds. After eclipsing the 1,000-point mark in the game against Notre Dame College, Calhoun has continued to climb Wheeling’s all-time scoring list. She enters play Wednesday night at #20 on the all-time scoring list, with 1,055 career points and looks to keep scoring over these final eight games of the regular season and into the playoffs. The Cardinal’s success from the three-point line continued with junior Shanley Woods, who hit 4-7 from three-point range and scored 16 points. It was her highest point total since she put up 13 against Notre Dame College on January 18th as she continues to be a strong part of the Wheeling offense.
The Cardinals begin February with one of their toughest stretches of the season as four of their next five games come against teams that are involved in the six-team battle for the conference’s top spot. The Cardinals are currently tied with rival West Liberty at 10-4 and sit two games behind division leading Glenville State. Wednesday night’s game is also an opportunity for the Cardinals to officially punch their ticket to WesBanco Arena, as a win or losses by both Frostburg State and Alderson Broaddus would clinch the team a spot in the 2023 MEC Tournament. The Cardinals are hoping to take care of business in Charleston and become the fourth team to officially punch their ticket to the MEC Tournament, joining the aforementioned Glenville State, West Virginia State, and Charleston in the field.
The Cardinals and Golden Eagles are meeting for the 36th time in program history on Wednesday as they wrap up their 2022-23 season series. Charleston leads the all-time series with a record of 27-8 and when the teams meet in Charleston, South Carolina the Golden Eagles have a 13-2 record against the Cardinals. Wheeling is looking for their first win against Charleston since February 8th, 2018, and their first win in Charleston since January 4th of that 2017-18 season.
In their first meeting of the year, Wheeling would fall behind early and didn’t have enough to battle back as they fell 64-50 inside the Alma Grace McDonough Center. In that game, Lauren Calhoun had one of her strongest showings of the season, scoring 26 points while leading the defense with nine rebounds. Shamia Strayhorn followed behind her with eight points, rounding out the Cardinal’s offensive showing.
Tip-off for Wednesday night’s game is scheduled for 5:30 PM inside the Werhle Innovation Center on the campus of the University of Charleston. You can watch the game live by clicking HERE or follow along with Live Stats by clicking HERE.
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