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WVU tested for 40 minutes, keeps perfect record in place with 77-72 win over Wright State

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In their 9-0 start, the WVU women’s basketball team had only been pushed into the final minute of a close game once. On Monday morning, and in front of an “Education Day” crowd of 7,535 fans, the Mountaineers kept their perfect record intact with a 77-72 win over Wright State.

“I did not think we played particularly well. I am not even sure we deserved, maybe for the majority of that game, to win. I thought we battled. So I was proud of that. Big-time credit to Wright State. I thought they were the aggressor. They were the team that punched first,” said WVU head coach Mark Kellogg.

“I do think we’ll get better from this game. That’s good for us. We need that. That was high-level basketball for a brief period.”

Behind a game-high 37-point performance from WSU guard Alexis Hutchison, the Raiders (6-5) played with the lead for over 25 minutes. Hutchison was 11-for-17 from the floor and 6-for-11 from beyond the arc.

“She’s a great player so we just had to find a way to try to contain her,” said WVU fifth-year guard Jayla Hemingway. “She was getting hot early in the game.”

Hutchison’s performance was counted by a career-best scoring game from WVU junior guard JJ Quinerly. She dropped in 30 points and collected 6 steals. However, Quinerly fouled out with 4:01 to play and the Mountaineers up by just a point at 67-66.

“We had to find some different kids to step up. I thought Tirzah [Moore] had a couple of big baskets in that fourth quarter. Jordan [Harrison] was running the show and Jayla was getting to the free throw line. I am really proud of some kids that stepped up,” Kellogg said.

“I think we all have a lot of trust in each other,” Hemingway said. “We have a lot of people that when our name is called, we’re ready to step up and do what we can to be able to pull a win out at the end of the day.”

“It is just us trusting in each other and knowing that we’ve got each others back,” Quinerly said. “We’re able to keep that calm and keep everything loose.”

The Mountaineers closed the game on a 12-6 run over the final 4:17. Tirzah Moore scored 4 of her 8 points in the final four minutes. Jordan Harrison scored 18 points for the Mountaineers. Hemingway added 12 points, going 10-for-12 from the free throw line.

Neither team led by more than five points at any point in the game.

“We played from behind for most of the night,” Kellogg said. “That’s something we’ll talk about. This team is pretty even-keeled. There’s times I wish they had a little more and understood, like we need to change this. It is not just cool at the moment. But at the same time, it is pretty impressive too that they don’t get too high and they don’t get too low.”

The Mountaineers remained just outside of the AP Top 25 in Monday’s new rankings. WVU will host Niagara Thursday afternoon in their final non-conference game of the season.

“Now that we are playing well, against a lot of teams we are going to get their best shot. A lot of nights when they play us, it might be the best game they play all season,” Hemingway said. “We just need to come in and still stick to the standard that we are expected to follow.”