Rio Grande Picks Up First Loss Against West Virginia State

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The Rio Grande women’s basketball team had a disappointing night on Tuesday, as it received their first loss in the 2013-14 season. Though the final seconds caused the crowd to sit on the edge of their seats in anticipation, the Yellow Jackets from West Virginia State University ultimately overcame the battle against Rio Grande with a 77-72 win.

Rio Grande started the game right by putting up the first nine points on the scoreboard. Throughout the first half, the RedStorm led by as much as 10 points on two occasions, but the Yellow Jackets responded with a 12-2 run that left the score tied at 24 right before halftime.

While the first half of the game might have seemed leisurely, the second half on the court was anything but. The lead bounced back and forth between the two teams, with quick responses from both sides from all players.

With just 1:53 left in the second half, junior guard Brianna Thomas scored on two free throws that gave Rio Grande in the lead, 68-67.

With just under a minute left to play, the RedStorm once again trailed the Yellow Jackets until freshman forward Alexis Payne stepped up with a basket, pulling Rio Grande back up to a 72-71 lead.

But West Virginia State rose up one final time to retrieve its last six points from the free throw line to give them the victory, all made within the last 43.2 seconds of the game.

Despite the loss, Rio Grande’s Brianna Thomas earned a career high of 25 points, accompanied by six steals. Brooke Marcum also contributed by grabbing 11 rebounds throughout the game.

West Virginia State had four players reach double-digit scoring on the night. India Taste contributed with 10 points, while Asia Greenleaf and Rachel Ward contributed 13 and 15 points, respectively. Lexy Carson led the Yellow Jackets with a game-high 30 points. Greenleaf also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, and Taste dished out eight assists.

Rio Grande shot a season-low 37 percent overall, and hit only five of its 21 3-point attempts. The RedStorm also got outrebounded for the first time this season.

The RedStorm hopes to bounce back from this loss as they host Cumberland University in their Mid-South Conference opener this Thursday. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. in Newt Oliver Arena.