Raiders fight to the wire against West Virginia, lose in final seconds

Alexis Hutchison
Alexis Hutchison

Following the Education Day loss to Bowling Green, where no shots would fall on the friendly court, the Raiders made the trip down to Morgantown, WV to fight the Mountaineers in the Coliseum. West Virginia was hosting its own Education Day on the frigid Monday morning, holding a capacity of 6000 students – a few hundred below the capacity at the Nutter Center that set an attendance record for women’s basketball. Wright State needed to shake off the loss to Bowling Green that presented an abysmal offense and keep turnovers in check as best they could against their Big 12 opponent.

The Raiders came out firing, scoring the first 5 points of the game off of an eventual career morning from Hutchison, then 5 more off of Lauren Scott. West Virginia’s defense was a force to be reckoned with however, pressuring the offense into giving up 9 points off of turnovers in the first quarter, most of which came before the Raiders could cross half court.

Fighting back and forth throughout the second, the Raiders tried to match the Mountaineers defense with their own, but the Raiders have been having trouble keeping their defense clean. In the 2nd, while the Mountaineers had scoring woes on the field, they made up their points on the line due to this Raider shortcoming. On offense, Hutchison kept the Raiders alongside their Big 12 opponent scoring 21 points on route to a 36-37 halftime score.

When asked on the broadcast what to do about Hutchison going into the second half, Coach Mark Kellogg of the Mountaineers replied “Maybe guard her?”

JJ Quinerly and Alexis Hutchison paced the two offenses with the Mountaineer putting up 19. Both were staring at career nights before the second half whistles blew.

Wright State came into the third quarter swinging, putting West Virginia on the backfoot by driving the key with a more balanced attack. The frustrated Mountaineer defense took to fouling to try and keep the Raiders down, but the Raiders were on fire for the quarter. Despite giving up some possessions to the 3rd best defense in turnovers, Wright State took a 60% shooting clip to go into the final quarter with a slim two point lead.

The Raiders looked to be solid going into the fourth, taking another 5 point lead with 7 minutes to go, but fouls came to haunt the Raiders allowing the Mountaineers to take consistent trips to the free throw line. The fouls in the climb to the Raider lead came with their hands up and contact dragged out by West Viriginia, and the Mountaineers clawed closer and closer to the Raiders.

JJ Quinerly fouled out with 30 points and four minutes to go, seemingly a go-ahead for the Raiders. Hutchison took immediate advantage, going up on a stumbling shot to put the Raiders up again.

Unfortunately, the Raiders went cold, scoring nothing but a single free throw over four minutes. As West Virginia slowly climbed their lead to the highest of the game of four points, Hutchison nailed a three pointer to put life back in to the game. In the final seconds, Hutchison’s final three pointer to go to 40 points and tie the game meets air off of tense defense by Lauren Fields.

Alexis Hutchison finished with a career high 37 points off of 11-17 shooting, followed by Layne Farrell’s 14 and full complement of fouls. The team fell victim to the powerful West Virginia turnover machine and was stripped 25 times total, about 50% going back for the score. With the Mountaineer’s pressure being the difference maker in the game, the Raiders now look to their MTE in the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic.

Wright State takes on Wyoming first on Thursday at 5:30, who has been battling incredibly difficult opponents such as Creighton and Oklahoma State from the get-go. The next day’s matchup will be against Presbyterian, who most recently took a 70 point schlacking against #1 South Carolina.

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