CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The University of Charleston women's basketball team started the game sharp and survived a West Virginia State rally on Thursday night to hand the Yellow Jackets an 80-68 Mountain East Conference defeat at Eddie King Gym.
The victory moves UC into a tie for third place in the MEC with the Yellow Jackets, whose coach, David Smith, has missed on two consecutive chances to earn his 600th career coaching victory.
State dropped a 76-67 decision at Concord on Jan. 18.
The shorthanded Yellow Jackets (11-6, 7-4 MEC) struggled to stay with UC (11-4, 7-4), which substituted early and often while often coming up short on the defensive end.
"We just didn't get the things done in the first half," Smith said. "They had as many offensive rebounds as we had rebounds total. We didn't get the job done on the boards. They played with more enthusiasm and a little more intensity than we did."
Charleston outrebounded State 40-30 and 14-8 on the offensive boards. Kiara Johnson's nine offensive rebounds sparked the UC effort.
A jumper by Chyress Lockhart opened the scoring for UC, the Golden Eagles scored the game's first seven points and never trailed in winning their third consecutive game and sixth in their last eight contests.
UC led 52-38 with 14:09 remaining after a Lockhart 3-pointer. State trimmed the advantage to 54-48 on a Lexy Carson layup, but the visitors couldn't get any closer than six the rest of the way.