WISE - - Chelsea Williams was named an assistant coach for the women's basketball program at UVa-Wise Monday. The coach comes to the College after a successful career at Saint Leo University where she earned second-team all-conference honors as a senior.
"Chelsea will be an asset to our program, her experience as a dominate post player will add to the team's development," said interim head coach Elise Clyburn. "Additionally, she will coordinate post player development while assisting in day-to-day operations of the program."
A member of the Sunshine State Conference All-Freshman Team, Williams aided the Lions to 20 wins as a senior in 2014. Overall, the former forward was a part of 34 wins over her final two collegiate campaigns.
The new assistant will oversee the program's social media accounts, academic development, community outreach and assist in recruiting, in addition to her on-the-court responsibilities.
Williams earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Saint Leo University in 2014.
She began work at UVa-Wise earlier this month.
WISE - - Head Coach Kristin Kunzman resigned her position at the helm of the women's basketball program at UVa-Wise Friday. Kunzman is leaving the College to return to her alma mater Millersville University to serve on the women's basketball staff. Elise Clyburn, who served as assistant coach last season has been promoted to Interim Head Coach for the 2017-2018 season. Additionally, Alex Stam will remain with the program as an assistant coach.
"We appreciate the leadership that Coach Kunzman provided the women's program and the foundation for continuing success," stated Interim Director of Athletics Kendall Rainey. "Coach Clyburn is committed to the values and culture of UVa-Wise and has demonstrated a passion for NCAA Division II. We are excited for her to lead the Cavaliers into the upcoming season."
Kunzman guided the program for six seasons, including a 21-win season with Clyburn as the lead assistant last winter. The win total marked the most for the school since becoming a NCAA Division II member.
"Coach Kunzman established a strong culture within our program and I fully intend to build upon that," remarked Clyburn. "I'm overly excited to serve as interim Head Coach at UVa-Wise. I would like to thank Chancellor Donna P. Henry, Director of Athletics Kendall Rainey and former Head Coach Kristin Kunzman for giving me the opportunity to join the Cavalier Family."
Clyburn played collegiately at Saint Leo University (Fla.) where she was a four-year letter winner. A two-time team captain, she was named the team's most valuable player after aiding the Lions to the most conference wins in school history as a senior.
"I'm looking forward to the team returning to campus so we can continue to build on the success we have achieved both on and off the court," mentioned Clyburn. "With our returning players and group of newcomers, I am eager for preseason practice to begin."
Prior to coming to UVa-Wise, Clyburn served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Mobile in Mobile, Ala. as well as an assistant at Shorter University in Rome, Ga.
This year, she participated in the Moving Up 2017 professional development program hosted at Duke University. Active in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, Clyburn was a WBCA Roundtable Presenter during the association's convention in 2015. In 2013, she was one of 50 coaches selected to participate in the "WBCA So You Want to be a Coach Program."
Clyburn obtained a bachelor's degree in business marketing from Saint Leo University before adding a master's degree in organizational leadership from Shorter University.
Practice for the women's basketball team will commence on Oct. 13.
WISE - - Recently, UVa-Wise Women's Basketball Head Coach Kristin Kunzman was selected to attend the Women's Coaches Academy in Denver. The four day program provides educational training and is open to NCAA coaches of all experience levels that offers non-sport-specific program management strategies, with a special focus on philosophy development and building skills and knowledge about planning, communication, legal issues, ethics, hiring, supervising staff, conflict resolution, learning styles and achieving success.
One of forty coaches selected, the program helped Kunzman reaffirm her core values while providing the coach with activities that will continue to enhance the culture of women's basketball at UVa-Wise.
"The Women's Coaches Academy was a life changing event," stated the coach. "The people I met and the support system I have built through the WCA is amazing. Not a single day goes by where I don't speak to a member of my graduating class."
The WCA is designed for women coaches who are ready and willing to increase their individual effectiveness by learning advanced skills and strategies that directly affect their personal and team success.
Skills development, retention and mentoring and collaboration are the three primary objectives of the program.
"I was reminded about my core values and why I do what I do," said Kunzman. "I have a strong passion for coaching and being a strong female mentor to our female student-athletes is what is important to me."
Kunzman recently completed her sixth season at the helm of the Cavalier program. The coach guided the program to 21 wins, its most since becoming a NCAA Division II member last winter.
WISE - - Head Coach Kristin Kunzman and her staff announced the addition of nine women's basketball players to the UVa-Wise roster for next season Monday. The group comes to the College after the program posted its first 20-win season as a NCAA Division II member last winter. The future Cavaliers are comprised of two transfers and seven players who just completed their high school career.
Incoming guards include Chesapeake Community College's Janice Ladson, Woodbridge High School standout Hanna Oliver, Clarksville, Tenn. native Judy Cummings, Greenville, N.C.'s Bianca Lockamy and Fairmont State University transfer Leia Moore. Forwards joining the roster are Garner, N.C. native Tehya Lee, Nokesville, Va. product Ada Stanley, Osbourn Park High School's Catrina Wood and Greensboro, N.C. product Nokomis Williams.
"We are excited and optimistic about our incoming class," stated Kunzman. "With seven freshman and two transfers we feel we have added the key ingredients to keep our program highly competitive in the Mountain East Conference."
A native of Woodbridge, Va., Ladson recently earned NJCAA All-America honors after posting 20.2 points and 4.4 assists per game at Chesapeake Community College. The 5-foot-3 guard amassed 1,032 points in two seasons while also leading the Skipjacks to the regional crown last winter. Also an all-state and all-region selection, Ladson is involved with Habitat for Humanity off the court.
Oliver comes to UVa-Wise after being a three-time first-team all-conference selection at Woodbridge High School. The 5-foot-5 guard added first-team all-region and second-team all-state honors to her resume as a senior. Posting 10.5 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals per game, the future Cavalier was also a member of the AP Scholars Program and was named Sports Marketing Student of the Year at Woodbridge.
Cummings led Clarksville High School to the regional title last season as the 5-foot-5 guard wrapped up a high school career that saw her earn first-team all-conference accolades in three consecutive seasons. Posting 11 points, 2.5 rebounds and two assists per game, Cummings was also a first-team all-county honoree as a senior. A member of the National Honor Society, Cummings graduated with a 3.9 grade point average to finish in the top five percent of her graduating class.
Lockamy finished her career at The Oakwood School by averaging a double-double. The three-time first-team all-state honoree averaged 35 points, 11 rebounds and six assists per game as a senior, overall the 5-foot-7 guard tallied 1,713 points during her prep career. Nominated to play in the North Carolina East – West All-Star Game, Lockamy was a four-time first-team all-conference honoree and earned her league's Most Valuable Player award three times. A member of the Art Honor Society, Lockamy was involved with numerous organizations to assist in recovery efforts following Hurricane Matthew.
A Bidwell, Ohio product, Moore earned all-district and honorable mention all-state acclaim at River Valley High School as a senior in 2016. The 5-foot-10 Moore has the ability to play numerous positions and averaged 10.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game as a high school senior. Valedictorian of her high school class, she posted a 4.0 grade point average in each of her first two semesters in college.
A three-time conference champion at Cleveland High School, Lee averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game as a high school senior. The 6-foot-1 forward chose UVa-Wise for its great academic programs.
A second-team all-state selection, Stanley was also named all-region and conference player of the year as a senior. The 5-foot-11 Stanley finished her high school career with 1,102 points. Named to her school's honor roll, Stanley was also SCA President at Brentsville District High School.
A second-team all-conference honoree as a senior, the 5-foot-11 Wood averaged 10.9 points and six rebounds per game as a senior. The Manassas, Va. native is a volunteer peer mentor with Baldwin Elementary school away from the court.
A standout at Southern Guilford High School, Williams ranked 27th in the nation in blocks as senior averaging 6.1 rejections per contest. The 6-foot forward was twice named her team's Defensive Player of the Year while also being named Southern Guilford's Most Valuable Player on two occasions. Williams posted nine points and 6.1 rebounds per game in addition to her 6.1 blocks as a senior.
UVa-Wise won 21 games last season and finished third in the MEC regular standings before advancing to the semifinals of the league tournament. In addition to the nine newcomers, the Cavaliers return seven letter winners from last season.
WISE, Va. –
Senior men's cross country runner Shaquon Wilkins and late senior men's golfer Nick England were honored as Co-Cavaliers of the Year Thursday night at the 2017 UVa-Wise Athletics Awards Banquet. Six other awards were handed out at the annual banquet held in the David J. Prior Convocation Center.
Football senior linebacker Zachary Blair and women's basketball redshirt senior guard Makenzie Cluesman were named as Male and Female Athlete of the Year, while men's golfer Alex Arnold claimed the inaugural Freshman of the Year accolade. After claiming the 2016 Mountain East Conference Championship, the men's golf team earned Team of the Year honors as women's basketball head coach Kristin Kunzman was tabbed Coach of the Year. Longtime Greear Gymnasium housekeeper and avid UVa-Wise athletics supporter, Paul Kilgore Jr., collected the Outstanding Service Award.
Shaquon Wilkins, Co-Cavalier of the Year
A three-time All-MEC First Team selection and four-time all-conference honoree, Wilkins had one of the best running careers at UVa-Wise. The Fredericksburg, Virginia (Riverbend H.S.), native set the school record for the fastest 8K (26:19) as a junior and had three top-10 finishes at the MEC Championship race his freshman through junior seasons. In 2015 Wilkins placed fifth at the MEC Championships and went on to race in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship meet.
He led the Cavaliers to three fifth-place finishes at the MEC Championship race and spear-headed UVa-Wise's fourth-place finish at the 2014 MEC Championships. Wilkins was the Cavs' top runner when the men's cross country team placed 18th at the NCAA Atlantic Regional meet in 2015, becoming the first UVa-Wise athletic team to compete in a NCAA postseason event. For their efforts during that season, the men's cross country team was named 2016 Team of the Year at UVa-Wise's annual awards banquet. As a sophomore Wilkins was named 2015 Male Athlete of the Year at the end of the year banquet for his performance during the 2014 cross country season.
Wilkins will graduate with a degree in administration of justice and has been a strong leader within the campus community. He has been a resident advisor (RA) for four years and an active member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Student Activities Board, Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), Colleges Against Cancer, and the African Culture Association. Wilkins was recently recognized as Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges and was the 2017 winner of UVa-Wise's National Engage Leader Award and the Outstanding Student Leader Award among several student leadership awards received.
Nick England, Co-Cavalier of the Year
A four-year letterman on the men's golf team, England's performance in the final round of the MEC Tournament helped propel the program to its first ever league championship last fall. The Wise, Virginia (Central H.S.), native shot a 74 on day three of the event as the men's golf team became the first automatic qualifier to a NCAA Division II Tournament in the College's history.
A biology major with aspirations of being a physician assistant, England was committed to education and service. Away from golf, he served on various mission trips where he provided medical services through his volunteer efforts. Involved in several student organizations, England was also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and Highlands Fellowship Church.
Zachary Blair, Male Athlete of the Year
Blair finished his gridiron career as one of the more decorated student-athletes in school history. The Front Royal, Virginia (Skyline H.S.), product broke the all-time NCAA Division II record for tackles for loss in a career with 80 after posting 21 in his final collegiate season. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker finished his career as an All-America Second Team honoree, a three-time All-MEC First Team selection and a two-time All-Region performer.
Additionally, Blair was twice named Small College Linebacker of the Year by the Richmond Times Dispatch, while also being named Defensive Player of the Year by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) in 2015 and 2016. A finalist for the Cliff Harris Award as a senior, The Richmond Touchdown Club recognized Blair as Virginia's top linebacker last fall. He finished his career with six school records and two MEC records as he became just the second player in program history to finish with more than 200 solo tackles (209).
Makenzie Cluesman, Female Athlete of the Year
Cluesman established a new single-season school record for made 3-pointers with 90 en route to All-MEC First Team honors. The 5-foot-8 guard led UVa-Wise in scoring average (13.9 ppg), assists per game (4.1 apg), free throw percentage (.797) and 3-point field goal percentage (.386) during her final collegiate campaign. A native of Jonesville, Virginia (Lee H.S.), Cluesman finished her career with 1,319 points to rank 10th all-time in school history.
Named Cavalier of the Month during the basketball season, Cluesman was also named to the MEC All-Tournament Team. Her on-the-court performance helped the women's basketball program to its first 20-win season since 2006 as the Cavs claimed 21 victories and finished third in the MEC regular season standings. UVa-Wise appeared in the D2SIDA regional rankings throughout the season and made the school's first appearance in the semifinal round of the MEC Tournament.
Alex Arnold, Freshman of the Year
Named MEC Freshman of the Year, Arnold took home the same honor at the UVa-Wise Athletics Banquet. A native of Wytheville, Virginia (George Wythe H.S.), Arnold tied for medalist honors at the MEC Championship tournament before finishing runner-up after a playoff hole.
Also an All-MEC honorable mention selection, Arnold turned in top-15 finishes at the MEC Fall Invitational and the Barton Invitational, in addition to his strong showing at the conference championship. Named Cavalier of the Month in October, Arnold is the inaugural UVa-Wise Freshman of the Year award winner.
Men's Golf, Team of the Year
Men's golf claimed four top-five finishes last fall en route to Team of the Year honors, but the team's biggest accomplishment came in the second week of October when David Harvey's team shocked the MEC by claiming the league title. Picked to finish 10th in the MEC Preseason Coaches' Poll, Harvey's team entered the MEC Championship having never finished higher than eighth in the event. History went out the window as UVa-Wise shot a 297 in the final round of the event to overcome a six-stroke deficit and hoist the championship trophy. Arnold tied for medalist honors with a three-day total of 222 while Jacob Smith, Andrew Johnson and Cody Large also finished in the top 25.
While Arnold, Smith, Johnson and Large turned in top-25 showings, it was the play of senior Nick England that helped carry the Cavs across the finish line. After back-to-back rounds in the 80's, England shot a 74 on day three of the event to help propel the team to the title. England's 74 was the second-lowest round of any Cav in the event and shaved 12 strokes off his day two total.
The 297 shot by UVa-Wise on day three was the lowest round of any team in the tournament and was nine strokes better than any other school's performance on the final day. For their accomplishment, the men's golf program became the first UVa-Wise athletic program to automatically qualify for NCAA Tournament play. The team will compete in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional May 7-10 in Daniels, West Virginia.
Kristin Kunzman, Coach of the Year
Kunzman's transformation of the women's basketball program reached new heights this past winter as the team claimed 21 wins and advanced to the semifinal round of the conference tournament. Picked to finish 10th in the MEC Preseason Coaches Poll, UVa-Wise defied the preseason prognostications by finishing third in the regular season race.
Kunzman's team was ranked as high as seventh in the D2SIDA Atlantic Region Poll during the course of the season, while contending for the regular season championship for the bulk of the year. UVa-Wise defeated a pair of regional qualifiers during the season, including regular season MEC champion Glenville State (87-75) on Feb. 4. The victory over the Pioneers was one of 11 inside the David J. Prior Center last season as the team posted an 11-1 home mark, the best since the facility opened.
The 21 wins on the season marked just the sixth time in the 47-year history of the program that the team reached at least 20 victories.
Paul Kilgore, Outstanding Service Award
In 1985 Kilgore started his career at then Clinch Valley College, a career that has now span over three decades. A lifelong resident of nearby Norton, Virginia, Paul graduated from John I. Burton High School before coming to work for the College. Kilgore has a true servant's heart as his genuine love for UVa-Wise and its students is shown daily through the pride he places in his work, his kind words, constant sincere smile, and willingness to always lend a helping hand.
Paul has been an outstanding supporter of UVa-Wise athletics and the student-athletes throughout his career, both as a visible fan and behind the scenes taking care of facilities. He has always provided ever present encouragement. In his free time, Kilgore enjoys spending time with his family, serving his church and helping others.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - - UVa-Wise senior Makenzie Cluesman was named to the Mountain East Conference All-Tournament Team while also earning the league's Sportsmanship Award following the 2017 women's basketball tournament. Fellow senior Kayla Carey finished the event with the highest points per game average at 19.
Cluesman averaged 15 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists as the Cavaliers advanced to the semifinals of the league tournament for the first time since the formation of the MEC four seasons ago.
Carey scored 23 points in the team's quarterfinal victory over West Virginia State before netting 15 against eventual tournament champion Wheeling Jesuit.
UVa-Wise won 21 games this season, the most since the school became a NCAA Division II member.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - - No. 2 seed Wheeling Jesuit University outscored No. 3 seed UVa-Wise 22-11 over the final six minutes of Saturday's Mountain East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament semifinal to upend the Cavaliers 74-68 inside the Charleston Civic Center. The win propels the Cardinals to their second consecutive tournament final, Wheeling Jesuit won the event in 2016.
Wheeling Jesuit (24-6) took its first lead of the second half with 4:32 to play when sophomore Monica Burns canned a 3-pointer to give her club a 59-58 lead.
A possession later UVa-Wise (21-11) starting point guard Taylor Sandidge would get injured and be forced to leave the game. With the senior out, the Cardinals' Kylie Frizell scored inside to run the lead to 61-58 with 3:41 remaining.
Sandidge would later re-enter the game but UVa-Wise would never again have the ball with a chance to take the lead as Jaana Molton and Burns would keep the Cavs at arm's length. A bucket by Burns and a missed jumper by UVa-Wise put Kristin Kunzman's team in a must foul situation with less than 40 seconds to play trailing 67-64.
The senior forward would split the free throws and after a missed 3-pointer by UVa-Wise, Chelsea Richardson put the game out of reach by connecting on a pair of free throws to make it a six-point game with 30 seconds left.
The semifinal appearance was the first for the Cavs who started the game by playing solid defense and receiving contributions from multiple players.
UVa-Wise limited Wheeling Jesuit to 1-5 shooting from the 3-point line in the opening quarter while freshman Kayla Mullins made a pair of 3-pointers to aid the No. 3 seed to a 21-16 lead after the first 10 minutes.
Kunzman's crew would maintain the lead throughout the first half as the Cardinals went 0-5 from beyond the arc in the second period to finish the half shooting 10 percent from distance. The Cavs also cleaned the glass in the opening 20 minutes by grabbing eight offensive rebounds en route to a 23-16 advantage on the boards at halftime.
Leading by three to start the third quarter, UVa-Wise would build its lead to as many as nine points in the third period on back-to-back buckets by senior Kayla Carey. The Knoxville, Tenn. native finished her final collegiate game with 15 points.
Wheeling Jesuit countered with an 8-0 run of its own behind the play of Frizel. The guard scored five of the eight points during the run to make the score 39-38 with just under six minutes showing on the third quarter clock.
After Makenzie Cluesman and Molton exchanged buckets. The Cavs hit back-to-back 3-pointers, one each by Cluesman and Mullins.
Moments later Mullins would drill her fourth 3-pointer of the game to aid the Cavs to a 50-47 lead after three quarters.
While UVa-Wise was able to keep Wheeling Jesuit off the glass in the first 30 minutes, the team's inability to grab defensive rebounds proved costly in the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals would grab six offensive rebounds in the final 10 minutes and turn the second chance opportunities into 11 points. Wheeling Jesuit finished the game with 11 offensive boards and battled back to lose the rebounding battle by just four at 38-34.
As has been the case all season, Debbie Buff's team was near perfect at the charity stripe. Wheeling Jesuit connected on 15 of 17 free throw attempts compared to an 11-16 showing by UVa-Wise.
Motton led all players with 17 points in the win. The forward added 10 rebounds to record a double-double. Burns finished with 16 points while Frizell and Callen had 12 each for the Cardinals.
Cluesman tied Carey for team-high scoring honors with 15. The Jonesville, Va. product added six rebounds, five assists and three steals in her final collegiate game. Sandidge netted 14 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists. The Waynesboro, Va. product finished her career with 1,420 points – the seventh most in school history. Mullins posted 14 points on 4-7 shooting to go with five boards, four assists and a pair of blocks.
The 21 wins posted by the Cavaliers this season were the most by the program since the 2005-2006 campaign.
Wheeling Jesuit plays No. 5 seed Fairmont State four the tournament title Sunday at 1 p.m.
Storylines – vs Wheeling Jesuit
Defending MEC Tournament champion Wheeling Jesuit stands on the cusp of a NCAA Tournament berth. The Cardinals entered this week's tournament ranked eighth in the most up-to-date Atlantic Region rankings. To get back to the tournament, Debbie Buff's team will have to knock off UVa-Wise for the third time this season. The Cardinals held off a late rally by the Cavaliers to win 64-59 in Wheeling before holding UVa-Wise to 44 points in a 72-44 win at the Prior Center. In its quarterfinal win, Wheeling Jesuit received a game-high 19 points off the bench from Chanelle Moore while holding Shepherd to 29 percent shooting in a 78-49 victory. Sophomore guard Monica Burns leads the offensive attack for Wheeling Jesuit. Burns averaged 15.3 points per game while shooting 93.9 percent from the foul line en route to All-MEC First-Team accolades. Burns averaged 21 points and three assists in a pair of wins over UVa-Wise in the regular season. Keeping the Cardinals off the free throw line will be crucial for the Cavs. Wheeling Jesuit leads the league in free throw percentage at 77.2 percent and made more free throws (453) than its opponents attempted (400) in the regular season. The quarterfinal win was the fourth consecutive tournament win for Buff's team who has won six of its first eight MEC Tournament games. About UVa-Wise
UVa-Wise will attempt to do something it has yet to do since joining the Mountain East Conference, win multiple games at the conference tournament. Kristin Kunzman's team outlasted West Virginia State 72-70 in the quarterfinals to win its tournament opener for the fourth consecutive season behind a 23-point showing from senior forward Kayla Carey. Fellow senior Makenzie Cluesman added 15 points, five rebounds and eight assists while four other Cavs scored at least six points to hold off the Yellow Jackets. Senior guard Taylor Sandidge scored eight points in the win, allowing the Waynesboro, Va. native to become just the eighth player in program history to eclipse 1,400 career points (1,406). The 5-foot-4 Sandidge is five points away from passing former Cav Chelsea Cluesman for seventh on the school's all-time scoring list. With four made 3-pointers in Thursday's win, Cluesman extended her single-season school record for made triples to 88. The Jonesville, Va. native has now made at least one 3-pointer in 30 consecutive games. With the win Thursday, UVa-Wise has now won at least 21 games for only the fifth time in program history. The semifinal appearance in a conference tournament is the first for UVa-Wise since being a NAIA Division II member in the Appalachian Athletic Conference in 2010. The program hasn't reached a final since 2006 when the team claimed the AAC crown.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - - For the first time since the formation of the Mountain Conference, UVa-Wise will play in the semifinals of the conference tournament. The No. 3 seed Cavaliers posted a 72-70 win over the No. 6 seed West Virginia State Yellow Jackets inside the Charleston Civic Center Thursday. Senior Kayla Carey scored a game-high 23 points while fellow seniors Taylor Sandidge and Makenzie Cluesman sealed the game by going 3-4 from the free throw line in the closing seconds.
UVa-Wise (21-10) led wire-to-wire but the game was not decided until the final buzzer. Kristin Kunzman's team held a 67-56 lead with under five minutes to play before the Yellow Jackets put up one final push.
West Virginia State (14-15) would get a 3-pointer by Jasmine Davis to make it a 67-59 game with 3:42 to play before a 3-pointer by Rachel Ward cut the deficit to five with 3:22 remaining. Charles Marshall's team would get within three points when Davis connected on a jumper moments later.
Junior Ashley Cullen would stop the Yellow Jackets' run with an elbow jumper only to see the lead cut to two seconds later when Davis made her second 3-pointer in less than 90 seconds to make it a 69-67 game with just over two minutes to play.
Each school would have missed opportunities over the next several possessions as UVa-Wise and West Virginia State each missed a pair of shots.
The last missed opportunity would be a shot clock violation that would give the Yellow Jackets the ball down two with 52 seconds remaining.
West Virginia State would work the ball to senior forward Shealyn Shafer who would draw a foul and go to the line with a chance to tie the contest.
Shafer would make the first foul shot but her attempt to tie the game would rattle out with Carey boarding the miss.
Sandidge would go to the line and make a pair of free throws with 19 seconds to play to run the lead to 71-68 only to see Damonique Patterson hit a jumper just inside the arc to make it a one point game with less than four seconds remaining.
Kunzman would then use her final timeout, allowing the Cavs to advance the ball to the frontcourt. Cluesman would receive the inbounds pass and after missing the first foul shot, made the second to make it a 72-70 game with just over two seconds to play.
West Virginia State would be unable to get off a final shot attempt as the Yellow Jackets were forced to go the length of the floor due to being out of timeouts.
The win marked the fourth consecutive season UVa-Wise has won its first game in the MEC Tournament and earned the program its first semifinal appearance in a league tournament since advancing to the 2010 Appalachian Athletic Conference semifinals.
A strong start by Cluesman allowed the Cavs to build an early lead. The Jonesville, Va. native scored 11 of her 15 points in the quarter as UVa-Wise led 23-13 after the first 10 minutes. The former Lee High School standout added five rebounds and eight assists in the victory.
Junior Allison Ball was also instrumental in the opening moments of the game. The Newport, Tenn. product canned a pair of 3-pointers in the opening period to get the Cavs off to a good start.
While Cluesman and Ball supplied aided Carey in supplying the offensive firepower in the opening quarter it was freshman Kayla Mullins who picked up the load in the second quarter. The Clintwood, Va. native scored six of her nine points in the period while adding a trio of rebounds and an assist in the 10 minutes.
UVa-Wise entered intermission leading 41-33 behind 48.4 percent shooting from the field.
Carey scored 10 points in the first half but the Knoxville, Tenn. native's play proved crucial in the second half.
The 6-foot-1 forward would score seven points in the third quarter to help her team go to the final 10 minutes leading 57-48.
Carey finished the game 10-15 from the field to tie her career-high for field goals in a game.
Mullins finished with nine points to tie a season-high while the eight points by Sandidge give her 1,406 for her career, making her the eighth player in program history to score at least 1,400 points.
Davis led West Virginia State with 22 points while Shea Hines netted 15 in the loss. Shafer was limited to one point as the forward was plagued with foul trouble for the majority of the contest.
With the win, UVa-Wise advances to Saturday's semifinal round where they will face No. 2 seed Wheeling Jesuit University. Tip-off from the Charleston Civic Center is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.
For more information about this year's conference tournament and up-to-the-date results on the event, please visit the official website of the Mountain East Conference – mountaineast.org.
Storylines – vs West Virginia State
Needing to win each of its last two games to earn a bye in the MEC Tournament, West Virginia State did just that with a pair of home wins over UVa-Wise and the University of Charleston. The Yellow Jackets upended the Cavaliers 77-75 before outlasting the Golden Eagles 58-53. Charles Marshall's club will get another crack at UVa-Wise Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the MEC Tournament. Guard Aurreshea Hines was named All-MEC First-Team after leading her team in scoring at 16.7 points per game and assists at 5.3 per game. The junior pulled the Yellow Jackets from the fire last Thursday when she drilled a step-back 3-pointer with less than 20 seconds to play to tie UVa-Wise at 75-75 helping propel her club to victory. This season, Hines is averaging 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in two meetings against the Cavs. A year ago, UVa-Wise and West Virginia State met in the opening round of the conference tournament as the Cavs claimed an 84-74 win in Institute. The Yellow Jackets last MEC Tournament win came in 2014 when the program knocked off Fairmont State 71-59 in the quarterfinals. About UVa-Wise
Trying to continue its best season in over a decade, UVa-Wise will try to advance to the semifinals of a conference tournament for the first time since advancing to the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals as a NAIA Division II member in 2010. The 20 wins this season mark the first for the program since claiming 24 victories during teh 2005-06 campaign and the winning season is the first since the 2009-10 season. Senior guards Makenzie Cluesman and Taylor Sandidge have been playing their basketball of the season down the stretch. Cluesman averaged 18.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game in a pair of games last week while Sandidge has scored 20 or more points in three of the last four games. Both were players were recognized by the MEC earlier this week when Cluesman took home All-MEC First-Team honors and Sandidge claimed her second consecutive All-MEC Honorable Mention award. In two games against West Virginia State this season, Cluesman averaged 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists. The guard turned in a double-double in each game as she posted 23 points and 11 rebounds in Wise before scoring 14 points while dishing out 10 assists at West Virginia State last week. Keeping Sandidge on the floor will be important for UVa-Wise, the guard fouled out in the most recent game against West Virginia State with under a minute to play. The Yellow Jackets outscored the Cavs 5-0 after Sandidge's departure.