The bad news, though, is there’s still a lot of work to do for the women’s basketball squad, according to Cavaliers coach Jamie Cluesman.
“We got lucky,” Cluesman said Monday after her team’s 82-74 nonconference win over Lees-McRae at the Prior Convocation Center.
“We did not come out with energy on the defensive end. I thought we were very selfish. Our rotations were not in place. I’m very disappointed in the effort. Fortunately, we got the win at home.”
The Cavs (3-1), playing their home opener, ended a three-game winning streak for Lees-McRae (3-3) with their third straight victory.
Neither team ever gained much of an advantage in a contest that saw 16 lead changes. The big difference came close to the basket. UVa-Wise outscored the Bobcats 46-28 in the paint.
Cynita Webb led the offensive attack down low for the Cavs. The senior scored a career-high 26 points and had 17 rebounds, 11 of them on the offensive end.
“I just dug down a little bit deeper,” Webb said. “I think I’m just a little bit more motivated because this is my last year and my last go-round and I just have to give it everything I’ve got.”
UVa-Wise, up 74-72 with 1:52 left to play, got four points from redshirt junior Kalee Johnson down the final stretch.The former Happy Valley star had 18 points and nine rebounds despite spending most of the second quarter on the bench.
“I had some time to sit down in the second quarter and see what my team needed from me,” said Johnson, who scored 15 of her points after the break. “In the second half I was able to come out and execute and do a lot of things. I think as a team we came out in the second half and did a little better and came out with the win.”
Ada Stanley added 16 points for UVa-Wise.
Lees-McRae, coached by former ETSU great and NBA player Keith “Mister” Jennings, got 22 points from Destiny Johnson and 17 from Jessica Henderson.
VIRGINIA-WISE MEN ROLL
In the men’s game, Virginia-Wise started strong and never let up in a 100-53 nonconference win over Berea.
Cavs Blake Mellinger said the offensive production was spurred by his team’s good defense.
“I think we did a lot of good things, particularly in the second half,” said Mellinger. “One thing we’ve really harped on the last couple of days in practice, really the last week, is our defense. I think tonight we played with an edge.”
UVa-Wise (2-2) had six players in double figures. Cameron Whiteside put up 23 points, Briggs Parris 15 and Drew Greene 14. Josh Thomas contributed 11 and Eric Okenchi and Chance Sheffey had 10 each.
Berea (2-3) got 18 points from Isaac Caudill. Torell Carter added 11.