Kingsport Times-News: UVa-Wise sweeps West Virginia Wesleyan
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UVa-Wise sweeps West Virginia Wesleyan

Kevin Mays • Jan 31, 2019 at 12:51 AM

WISE — Cynita Webb has been dominating on the basketball floor as of late.

The Virginia-Wise junior finished Wednesday’s Mountain East Conference game with her third straight double-double performance in leading the Cavaliers to a 73-54 victory over West Virginia Wesleyan. It was Webb’s 11 double-double of the season.

DOUBLE VISION

Webb racked up 12 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in the Cavalier win.

“I think it starts in practice. My teammates keep me going. They’re tough on me, and coach keeps me going and motivated,” said Webb.

Virginia-Wise coach Jamie Cluesman was pleased with Webb’s performance as well as leading scorer Janice Ladson, who finished with a career-high 15 points in the contest.

Cluesman said Ladson led the team not only in point production but also in intensity, which made the difference in the second half for the Cavaliers.

The Cavs led 33-31 at halftime before taking a 51-41 lead after three quarters after outscoring Wesleyan 18-10 in the third.

“That was the whole talk at halftime,” said Cluesman. “Our other players needed to match (Ladson’s) intensity. She set the tone early for us and we didn’t follow suit. I feel like in the second half everyone got on the same page as Janice, and that’s how we were able to pull away.”

A GOOD NIGHT

Like her teammate, Ladson said success on the basketball court doesn’t start with the game.

“As Cynita said, it starts off in practice. Everything you do in practice will always translate to the game. I feel like yesterday we all as a whole went hard in practice,” she said.

CRUNCH TIME

With the win, Virginia-Wise (9-10, 7-6) moves into a tie with Shepherd for sixth place in the MEC standings.

The conference’s top six teams draw a bye in the MEC’s 10-team tournament at the end of the season.

Cluesman said the remainder of the conference schedule is critical for the Cavaliers in looking for a top-six finish.

“That would be huge for our program. We were picked 12th out of 12 (MEC teams), and for us to be standing where we are right now, we’re happy but we’re not content. We want to keep climbing the ladder,” the coach said.

Ada Stanley finished with 13 points for Virginia-Wise, while Happy Valley grad Kalee Johnson, a redshirt sophomore, scored nine points for the Cavaliers in her first start of the season.

Wesleyan (4-12, 4-9) got 10 points apiece from Brittany Stawovy and Victoria Jackson.

CAVALIER MEN END LOSING SKID

The Virginia-Wise men’s basketball team ended a seven-game losing streak and picked up their first win of 2019 with an 85-79 MEC win over West Virginia Wesleyan (8-11, 5-8).

Briggs Parris finished with 22 points, including two critical 3-point shots late in the contest, to lead the Cavaliers. Eric Okenchi scored 16 points, while Cameron Whiteside finished with 15 points and Kaeleb Carter added 14.

“It was a team effort,” said Virginia-Wise coach Blake Mellinger. “I felt like we responded to every challenge. We handled adversity pretty well when it hit. And I thought we handled success. We were pretty even. We never got too high, we never got too low. That was a big key to us winning the game.”

PLAYING SHORT-HANDED

The Cavaliers played only eight players in the contest.

Three players, leading scorer Michal Seals and part-time starters Tajh Eason and Chance Sheffey, have been suspended indefinitely.

The trio has missed the team’s last three games after being suspended because of a violation of team rules.

Mellinger said there is no timetable for the three returning to the team.

“Those guys will have to earn their way back. It’s not going to be given to them, and it’s basically up to them whether they do the things to make that happen or not,” the coach stated.

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