WVC women's tournament: Alderson-Broaddus makes Seton Hill work for victory
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Coming off its first West Virginia Conference women's basketball tournament win since 1999, Alderson-Broaddus made its final foreseeable trip to the Charleston Civic Center on Wednesday afternoon.
The No. 13-seeded Battlers almost lingered around for another day.
Alderson-Broaddus, which upset No. 4 seed Davis & Elkins in the first round Monday, lost to fifth-seeded Seton Hill, 51-45, to open the final four days of the WVC tournament.
"We got down here when nobody believed we would," seventh-year Battlers Coach Josh Allen said. "To make it down here for the first time in 14 years being the last time the conference is together is something special."
The league will morph into the Mountain East for the 2013-14 calendar year. Alderson-Broaddus and Seton Hill won't be around for the league's reincarnation. A-B is headed for the Great Midwest Athletic Conference and Seton Hill will join the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
The Battlers' deliberate pace kept the game close throughout, although the Griffins briefly led by double-digits in each half.
Seton Hill (18-12) was held to its second-lowest scoring output of the season, and had season-lows in field goals made (15) and field goal percentage (15-for-50, 30 percent). SHU also hit just 2 of 14 from beyond the arc and missed all six of its 3-pointers in the second half to shoot just 14.3 percent from long range. The Griffins' season average on 3s coming into the game was 36.7 percent.
"They got us a little out of sync in the second half," said first-team all-WVC selection Katie Gattuso, who had a game-high 20 points. "You could hear them calling out. They knew our plays pretty well and knew where to cheat."
Gattuso, a 6-foot forward, followed up her 31-point, 21-rebound first round performance with 20 points and a team-high seven rebounds against A-B (8-20).
Gattuso scored the first six points of the second half to give Seton Hill an 11-point lead - its biggest of the game - but Alderson-Broaddus whittled away at the deficit from there.
"We wanted to make sure they didn't get out and run," said Allen, who was a star men's player at Alderson-Broaddus and the 2004 WVC tournament MVP. "We wanted to make sure we took time to slow it down and with our offense we try to tell our kids to run it a couple times through to get a good shot and make them play some defense.
"They're a good team and we knew they would make their runs."
Alderson-Broaddus pulled with two points at 45-43 after Cayla Rhodes' putback. Rhodes finished with a team-high 15 points.
Seton Hill's proficiency from the free-throw line helped mitigate the issues on offense and thwart the Battlers' second consecutive upset. The Griffins went 19-for-21 from the line, including nine for 10 in the second half. Gattuso finished 6-for-18 from the field, but 7-for-8 on free throws.
Seton Hill went 10:34 of the second half without a field goal, and the first player other than Gattuso to make a shot in the second half was Kelly Brennan. That came with 4:11 left.
"The stuff that they ran, they were able to pull Katie away from the basket several times," Seton Hill Coach Ferne Labati said.
"Left our guards to fend for themselves. They outrebounded us severely."
A-B finished with a 46-35 edge on the boards, but Seton Hill survived that, too.
The Griffins advance to Friday's 3 p.m. semifinal against the winner of top seed Glenville State and ninth-seeded Charleston.
Contact sports editor Chuck McGill at email@example.com or 304-348-7949.