By Kendrick Jackson, Contributing Writer
Hilltopper basketball will gear up for one last game before winter break. West Liberty will travel to Fairmont State for an inner-conference matchup this Sunday.
As of Dec. 6, the Black and Gold are 6-4. The Hilltoppers fell to Notre Dame 84-89 over the weekend. The Hilltoppers were unable to recover in the final quarter, following 13 unanswered points by the Falcons to close out the third. Senior forward Marissa Brown finished the game with a double-double, pouring in 30 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
However, the Hilltoppers bounced back in their win over Shepherd University on Wednesday night with a score of 96-72.
WLU will seek to avenge their early exit in the MEC tournament last year. After defeating the Falcons twice during the 2017-2018 regular-season, West Liberty would go on to lose to Fairmont State 55-64 in the first-round. Falcons guard Sierra Kotchman finished with a team-high 20 points in the upset victory.
Kotchman continues to be one of the Falcons leading scorers this season, averaging 15.1 points-per-game, as of Dec. 3. However, in their 63-61 loss to W Va. Wesleyan, Kotchman had arguably her worst game of the season. Kotchman finished with zero points, going 0-for-8 from the field.
As of Dec. 3, Fairmont State is 2-5, and currently sits towards the bottom of the conference. This is a team who was selected to finish third, one spot ahead of WLU, and received three first-place votes in the MEC Coaches’ Preseason Poll.
The Hilltoppers will play in their last non-conference matchup on Dec. 18 at home against Walsh University (Ohio). The Cavaliers are currently 5-2 on a three-game winning streak. Cavaliers guard Quionche Carter is pouring it in her freshman season. Carter is averaging 20.3 points per game and seven rebounds-per-game. As of Dec. 3, in the seven games played, Carter has scored 20-plus points in five different games.
For the Hilltoppers, some players to watch for are Taylor Johnson, Morgan Brunner, and Brandi Beader. They are all averaging over 11 points per game with Johnson leading this group with 17.2 points per game. Newcomer and transfer Brunner has been a bright spot for this Hilltoppers team, averaging 15.4 points per game the first nine games, with only starting for one of those games.
Coverage of the Fairmont State game will begin Saturday at 2 p.m.
Hilltopper basketball will return next semester on Thursday, Jan. 10 for a home matchup against W. Va. State.
Photo Credit: Hilltoppersports.com