WVC women's basketball: Brock, short-handed Yellow Jackets stay perfect
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Play hard, listen intently and you'll learn how to win.
OK, so maybe the last couple weren't things 30-year NCAA Division II Coach David Smith told his West Virginia State Yellow Jackets, but they are buying into whatever he's selling, winning their second game to start the season, 77-70, against West Virginia Conference foe Concord (2-5, 1-2) at Fleming Hall on Thursday night.
That's career win No. 577 for Smith, but more importantly, victory No. 2 without a loss for the nine strong 2012-13 Yellow Jackets (2-0, 2-0).
They were down to eight when junior guard April Hargow appeared to injure her ankle on a layup with 32 seconds left in the first half.
"Everything he says, it all makes sense," said Jordan Brock, the former Winfield and Hurricane standout who had 15 points and 11 rebounds for State. "At the end of the day, if we're confused, we know he says everything for a reason. We're starting to listen. We're starting to get it all together."
Jasmine Blanton, among the holdovers from the Renee Bostic regime, had 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, while Janelle Williams came off the bench for 17 points and eight rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets, playing just their second game this season, compared to seven for the Mountain Lions, seemed to allow Concord many more offensive boards - even if the difference was just five (22-17). However, they were playing without forward Asia Greenleaf, who is out with a knee injury.
"That's 10 or 12 rebounds a game we're losing," Smith said.
State made up for it by permitting Concord to shoot just 33.3 percent (21-of-63), using a halfcourt defense on which Smith prides himself.
"Yea, well ... we're getting ...," Smith said reluctantly. "We didn't do a very good job on 24. She got dribble penetration and she can't shoot, we knew that and we told them that. Keep her on the perimeter."
That was Concord guard Tanisha Williams, a senior from Virginia Beach. She finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, but shot just 5-of-16 from the field.
Conversely, Concord played without former South Charleston and State standout Sissy Wagner.
Wagner suffered a concussion in the game against Alderson-Broaddus on Nov. 20 and won't be available until Monday's home game against Virginia Intermont.
"In overtime, I went up for a layup and came back and smacked my head on the court," Wagner said. "I was confused. I knew something wasn't right."
Wagner was on a five-day progression, doing more activities every day until the sixth day when she is permitted to return to the court.
"When it comes to concussions they don't clear early," Wagner said. "I tried everything I could, I joked with my trainer all week about it, but there was no way."
Wagner played in five games and leads the team in minutes (34.0), while averaging 11.6 points and a team-leading 4.4 assists.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4837.