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Cummings’ trey at buzzer lifts UVa-Wise women

Kevin Mays • Nov 28, 2018 at 11:35 PM

WISE — Virginia-Wise’s J.K. Cummings hit the biggest shot of her collegiate basketball career against West Virginia State Wednesday night.

And as a result, she gave the Cavalier women one of their biggest wins in the recent history of the program.

With just over four seconds left in the Mountain East Conference contest and the game tied at 84, Virginia-Wise inbounded the ball under the far basket with the length of the court to travel.

With time running out and the game headed to overtime, Cummings, a sophomore from Clarksville, Tennessee, took the in-bound pass, moved just past the mid-court stripe and sent the ball airborne just a tick before the final buzzer sounded.

With the buzzer still going off, the shot from Cummings dropped without touching anything but the strings on the basket to lift the Cavs to an 87-84 MEC win.

PROGRAM WIN

The dramatic victory lifted the Cavaliers (3-3, 2-1) to a second-place tie in the conference with multiple teams.

The Cavs travel to face first-place Charleston (6-1, 3-0) Saturday. A win would put Virginia-Wise, which was picked to finish last in the 12-team MEC, at the top of the standings.

“Being 2-1 in the conference, it’s huge,” said Virginia-Wise coach Jamie Cluesman. “It’s going to help us down the stretch. Us going on the road now, hopefully that’s going to help our confidence a little bit.

“I have to credit my assistant coaches. The three of us put the game plan together. We spent hours upon hours watching film, trying to figure out the right matchups, the right offense, the press offense.

“We’re going to be prepared against Charleston. Hopefully, we come back 3-1 in the conference and we’ll move on from there.”

Cluesman said her team has to keep moving forward and be prepared for every challenge.

“We just can’t get complacent. We just have to continue to push the pedal down,” she said. “We were preseason ranked 12th. We really don’t have much to lose, according to those rankings. We should go into every game as if we’re going to win because we’re not expected to win.”

GAME WINNER

Cummings’ game-winning shot was the only 3-pointer of the night she hit.

She connected on two free throws to finish with five points. But the game-winner was the key.

“That was the Good Lord. That wasn’t me,” Cummings said of making the half-court shot. “I think we just played hard as a team. We came in the underdogs, and we did what we needed to do to keep it a close game and come down to that.”

BIG POINTS

Mackenzie King scored a career-high 21 points and had eight rebounds for the Cavaliers, while Hanna Oliver finished with 20 points and Cynita Webb had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

West Virginia State’s Lynn Hatcher finished with 25 points and nine rebounds, while Jordan Miller scored 16 points for the Yellow Jackets.

CAVALIER MEN ROLL

Virginia-Wise had six players hit double-figure scoring to take a 105-92 win over West Virginia State in the men’s MEC contest.

Cameron Whiteside led the scoring with 18 points for the Cavaliers, while Tajh Eason had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Briggs Parris added 16 points, with 15 points coming from five 3-point shots. Chance Sheffey had 15 points, while Michal Seals had a double-double with 14 points and 12 assists and Eric Okenchi finished with 14.

“We have a lot of guys who can dribble, pass and shoot. I think our versatility from that standpoint makes us very effective offensively when we’re playing together,” said Virginia-Wise coach Blake Mellinger.

Glen Abram led West Virginia State with 22 points, while Pat Johnson Agwu added 21 points and Isaiah Noel had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets.

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