Updated Sun, Nov 17, 2013 7:56 pm
Rio Grande Women’s Basketball defeated West Virginia Tech to take the 31st Annual Bevo Francis Tournament Championship in Newt Oliver Arena, with an 81-73 victory.
The RedStorm are 5-0 and continue to push through the season undefeated.
Rio had a slow start to the game, the score tied at 18-18, but soon put itself in the lead at the end of the first half. In the second half, Rio created a huge 20-point lead, going up 50-30 with 14 minutes left in the game.
The RedStorm have shown a huge improvement on the amount of touch fouls being called against them.
“The changes to foul calling has turned out a lot better than I thought it would,” head coach David Smalley said. “I’m in favor of the policy as long as all the refs are consistent in making calls.”
Brianna Thomas has quickly proven herself to be a strong asset as a first year Rio player, earning tournament MVP honors. She scored 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals on the night, leading the team in points scored.
“Brianna is a big leader on this team,” Smalley said, “and we don’t necessarily need more girls to step up as a leader, but we need to learn how to play with each other.”
Freshman Brooke Marcum earned herself All-Tournament Team honors. She had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Golden Bears.
Freshman Alexis Payne was another player to receive tournament honors. Payne scored a career-high 13 points and sank all of her free throws.
Also scoring double digits were sophomore Sarah Bonar with 11 points and six rebounds, as well as junior Morgan Daniels with 10 points.
“West Virginia Tech is one of the better teams we’ve played,” Smalley said, “and this tournament had us pretty nervous for each game.”
Both games in the tournament resulted in Rio’s lowest final scores this season. It took the RedStorm longer than usual to build a strong lead.
The Golden Bears only had two players who reached double digits. West Virginia Tech was led by Nia Nolan with a game-high of 31 points and eight rebounds. Cheyanna Lusk netted 14 points. Each player received All-Tournament honors.
Rio Grande will return to Newt Oliver Arena on Tuesday night to face West Virginia State. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.