Glenville State College hoop teams eye MEC crowns

PARKERSBURG – The Glenville State College basketball teams both received a bye in the Mountain East Conference tournament and will open play in the quarterfinals inside the Charleston Civic Center.

Pioneer women’s head coach Charles Marshall’s squad enters today’s 6 p.m. affair as the No. 1 seed after posting a 25-3 record. GSC, the No. 9 team in the country, takes on eighth-seeded 15-12 Wheeling Jesuit, which snapped the Pioneers’ 10-game winning streak during a 77-74 overtime win on Feb. 20.

GSC leads the nation in scoring at 99.8 points per game and also ranks first in 3s made per contest at 12.1. On top of that, the Pioneers are first nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio and are led by the best in Division II for that category in Jessica Parsons, who averages 4.13 assists per turnover.

Seven different players average double figures for the Pioneers, who are led by Kenyona Simmons’ 16.3 (ppg) average. In the first meeting of the season on Jan. 11, Wheeling Jesuit lost 97-85.

The Cardinals have been led in scoring this year by Jaila Bryant (14.5) and Breanna Butler (14.3) and are coming off a 71-60 victory against Concord on Tuesday night in the opening round of the tournament. Bryant, though, scored 23 points during the Cardinals’ huge upset win that could cost GSC a shot at acting as the host site for the Atlantic Region. Glenville State is currently No. 2 in the Atlantic Region behind Gannon.

GSC head coach Stephen Dye’s club exceeded expectations in the MEC this year and finished 17-9 overall and earned the No. 3 seed. The G-men, ranked No. 8 in the Atlantic Region, square off against sixth-seeded Shepherd (20-9) at 2:15 p.m. Friday. The Pioneers have won five of six games and the lone setback came in a 109-97 home loss to MEC tournament favorite and No. 3 ranked West Liberty (24-2).

Shepherd advanced to the quarterfinals after handing Concord an 86-68 loss that saw Ram Morgan McDonald go for game-highs of 25 points and 16 rebounds. Former Warren standout and Ohio Valley transfer Austin Cunningham leads Shepherd with 137 assists and the junior is second on the squad in scoring, averaging 16 points a game. Brantley Osborne paces Shepherd in scoring at 19 points an outing.

The senior laden Pioneers, who were preseason ranked eighth in the MEC, receive better than 19 points and eight rebounds from Lamar Mallory. The Pioneers also get a scoring punch from Donte Morales (16.7) and Kevin Gray (14.7) while Reggie Williams has a team-high 113 assists and averages close to nine points a contest.