BUCKHANNON – Mari Stewart scored a basket with one second remaining on the clock to give the West Virginia Wesleyan Lady Bobcats a 57-55 victory over Fairmont State University tonight in a Mountain East Conference contest at Rockefeller Center.
With the game tied at 55-55, Tara Goldman pulled down a rebound on a missed Fairmont State three-pointer.
Alexa Mortenson missed a jumper with four seconds left, but Stewart fought for the rebound and put a shot back up that went in to give Wesleyan their first win of the year.
It was also a significant triumph for first-year head coach Vicky Bullett as it was her first win at the helm of the Lady Bobcat basketball program.
"They finished the game leaving everything they had on the court," remarked Bullett. "It was game day and they played until the final horn. I am so proud of the unselfish play, they stayed committed to sticking to their roles, and they all held each other accountable to work together as a team."
Fairmont State tied the contest at 12-12, but Goldman went inside for a lay-up to treat Wesleyan to a 14-12 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Up 18-16 early in the second quarter, Rachel Vandertoolen nailed a jumper, Goldman hit two free throws, Stewart hit a 10-footer and Stacy Remer capped off a 7-0 run with a free throw that gave the Lady Bobcats a 25-16 lead with 3:44 remaining in the first half.
Fairmont State closed the half on a 14-7 run to make it a 32-30 game at the intermission.
Goldman made a basket and Long flipped in two free throws as Wesleyan extended their lead to 36-30, but Fairmont State ran off the next eight points to take their first lead, at 38-36, with 5:35 remaining in the third period.
The two teams traded the lead back and forth the rest of the quarter as Wesleyan held a 45-44 advantage going into the final 10 minutes of action.
In the first four and half minutes of the fourth quarter, Fairmont State outscored Wesleyan by a 10-3 margin to take a 54-48 lead.
Wesleyan battled back and scored the next seven points to grab a 55-53 lead with 1:23 remaining.
Stewart made a pair of free throws, Remer scored an old-fashioned three-point play and Goldman made a lay-up to cap off the run.
Fairmont State's Makenzie White made a free throw to tie the contest at 55-55 with a minute remaining before Wesleyan's heroics at the end of the game.
Stewart led all scorers with 15 points while Goldman had 14 and Vandertoolen had 11.
Vandertoolen had a game-high seven rebounds while Remer dished out a game-high seven assists.
Wesleyan was 20-for-51 from the floor for 39.2 percent while Fairmont State was 20-for-50 on their field goal attempts for 40.0 percent.
Fairmont State dropped to 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the MEC.
Wesleyan improved to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the MEC.
"Fairmont State is a great team and a win early against a top program like them builds a lot of confidence in our student-athletes," Bullett concluded.
The Lady Bobcats will return to action Monday when they entertain the Shepherd Lady Rams Monday at 5:30 p.m. in Rockefeller Center.
Photo ID: Wesleyan celebrates their 57-55 victory.
(Photo courtesy Brian Bergstrom/The Record Delta)